5G is dubbed as the next generation of mobile wireless communications across the world that is set to replace the current 4G LTE connection in the upcoming years. 5G wireless connection is expected to come with faster download/upload speeds, lower latency and increased capacity.
The global 5G market is poised to provide 5G internet speed that will be approximately 20 times faster than 4G, and that too with the minimum download speed capped at 20 GB/s (while 4G can muster only 4 GB/s). Data transfer speed is expected to be accelerated as well from approx. 10 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps and beyond, indicating a massive shift towards more seamless and effective connectivity.
The advent of 5G is expected to translate into the following benefits for businesses and consumers:
• Shorter delays: 5G will facilitate larger data transfers as well as minimize the lag in time from when data is sent/received. 5G will enable real-time connectivity for IoT data exchanges, connected cars, and other “smart” objects plugged into the network.
• Enhanced connectivity: 5G mobile network infrastructure is expected to considerably increase the capacity for resource provisioning. More people and devices will be able to communicate at the same time without overloading the network.
• Faster speed: As mentioned earlier, 5G speed is expected to outpace 4G significantly, and the speed will be comparable (or even faster) to fiber optic wired networks.
• Mobility: 5G enables base stations to support movement from 0 to 310 mph, meaning sustainable operations on-the-go (e.g., on a high-speed train).
• Improved connection density: 5G is expected to empower connected devices more than LTE and support up to 1 million connected objects per square kilometer, in line with the growth of IoT devices across the world.
Both consumers and businesses are supporting the demand for 5G standard, majorly driven by increasing digital, cloud, and security requirements of multiple industries including automotive, logistics, retail, entertainment, and manufacturing among others.
China is leading the 5G race
The global launch of 5G is expected in 2020 and China has placed itself favorably to lead the way. China is investing in infrastructure development significantly in a bid to emerge as the largest 5G market in the next decade. China is already holding a market leading position in 4G connectivity and with the impending 5G rollout, the country is positioning itself strategically to seize a significant market share.
What makes China the biggest 5G player?
China is set to deploy 5G on a commercial scale by 2019 and both the government and telecom operators are working together to meet the timeline. China is expected to invest USD 411 Bn from 2020 to 2030 on 5G mobile networks, which is one of the most expensive telecommunications build-out in the country’s history. Domestic carriers like China Mobile, Huawei, and ZTE are collaborating with global players to trial 5G equipment. More than 25 agreements have been signed with the scope varying from testing 5G radio technology, architecture evolution toward 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) to global knowledge and experience sharing.
The best combination of wireless carriers committing to the technology, government support for research, and strategic rollout plan by 2020 is working in favor of the large-scale 5G adoption in China. Also, 5G has been given great importance in China’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), which bodes well for the country’s target of becoming the largest player in the global 5G market by 2025. 5G is deemed critical for the growth of China’s vibrant digital economy and its aspirations in AI. China’s AI plans include a focus on 5G and improved low latency, high-throughput transmission capabilities of these technologies.
With the infrastructure in place, it is now up to the Chinese companies to leverage the nation’s leading position in the 5G race to customize the global standards. Though it is too early to say whether the 5G world will be dominated by China but there is no denying the fact that the balance of power is tilting towards China.
Apart from China, there are a few other countries who are vying for the top spot in the 5G market -
South Korea - Two service providers are vying to be the first to market with a 5G network. SK Telecom has acquired spectrum in the 3.5 GHz and 28 GHz frequencies for deploying 5G. Meanwhile, Korea Telecom rolled out a trial 5G network in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.
Japan - Japan is galvanizing its communications industry to place itself favorably among the top 5G network players. Recently, NTT DoCoMo and Sohgo Security Services demonstrated an advanced security service, driven by 5G network technology, to determine the effectiveness of the service in handling security for the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Olympics.
The United States of America - The U.S. has major advantages in the 5G network race, as the country is already a front-runner when it comes to existing 4G networks, thanks to spectrum holdings and the use of unlicensed spectrum. The country is also leading the way with respect to spectrum efficiency, permitting the repurposing of broadcast spectrum for broadband.
5G is expected to drive the growth of multiple industry verticals across the world, including automotive, logistics, retail, entertainment and manufacturing. In short, the development of 5G technology is expected to a game changer for the telecom industry.