5G is the subject of much ink, but it is difficult to find concise answers to the questions that everyone is asking, especially professionals and business decision-makers. Throughput, deployment, usefulness: here are the essential elements to understand 5G.
This time, we are there. As announced for a long time, 2020 will be the year of the marketing of the first 5G offers. A few months before the launch, it is time to take stock of the operation and the promises of this new generation mobile network.
Under the name, 5G hide many technical innovations. Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) is a technology that increases the number of antennas to serve more users and manage up and down data flows simultaneously.
With beamforming, the signal will no longer be broadcast in all directions but will be focused and directed specifically to the connected device so as to increase its efficiency. Another example, network slicing is a virtualization technique that will cut the network to offer each user the level of performance they need and thus optimize the resources available.
A flow multiplied by ten and a latency divided by ten. This is what future 5G users can expect in terms of performance compared to the 4G network. If tests have shown that 5G could offer a speed up to 20 Gb / s, in real conditions, the speeds could reach 1 Gb / s. As for latency, it will be close to a millisecond. Obviously provided you have a compatible device.
3. 5G Offers
On December 31, the call for candidates for the allocation of the band 3.4 – 3.8 GHz was published. This band, which constitutes the heart of 5G, is divided into 31 blocks of 10 MHz frequencies which will have to be shared by a maximum of 4 operators. Applicants have until February 25, 2020, to submit their applications.
The allocation procedure then comprises several stages which will last approximately 3 months. Once the frequencies have been allocated, the first offers exploiting the 5G network should be released during the summer.
4. It’s Coverage
As a first step, the coverage area should be limited to a few large cities. Operators have obviously already started deployments and have been testing since 2018 in pilot cities.
From 2022, operators with 5G frequencies must have deployed 3,000 sites, then 8,000 by 2024 (including 4,000 in areas classified as “sparse”) and 10,500 by 2025. The objective is to achieve a 100% 5G network by 2030.
Ultra-high-definition video, cloud gaming, telemedicine, autonomous vehicles, as journalist Thomas Page points out in our columns, 5G will improve existing uses but also create new ones. For businesses more specifically, it will make it possible to offer very high speed in areas devoid of optical fibre.
It will also be possible to imagine new scenarios to guarantee business continuity by using 5G as a backup network. Exchanging heavy documents, working with streaming tools and videoconferencing will take advantage of 5G to ensure wider and more serene mobility for the employees concerned, such as the sales force for example.
Remains to date a major unknown: the price of subscriptions. None of the major operators has expressed itself clearly on the subject but we can assume from the statements that it will be up compared to 4G.