It’s been the buzz-word of the year so far with many anticipating it’s launch but finally, 30th May 2019 sees the launch of the 5G roll-out in the UK. But it’s not available for everyone. To be part of the hype, you need to live in one of the six major cities; London, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Belfast or Edinburgh and be willing to pay a one-off fee for a compatible handset. And contract prices for consumers look costly too.
EE, the first network to the first to launch a service have announced their lowest-priced deal is £54 a month plus the one-off fee for that compatible handset that will set you back around £170. That gets you 10GB of data, which many get through quite quickly using 4G, let alone using the next-gen tech of 5G which allows you to download tons of media in all but seconds.
Rivalry from other networks wont set in until about 5 weeks time when Vodafone launches it’s own 5G service. But until then, it’s EE or the high-road. So what’s all the fuss about? If there’ll only be two major providers, why is everyone putting 5G on a pedestal? The answer? Speed.
How fast is fast?
The truth is, pretty fast. Download speeds are expected to overshadow the 300Mbit/s offered by 4G in a big way. 5G is promising to offer speeds in excess of 1Gb/s (1000Mbit/s), with many estimates placing it closer to 10Gb/s (10000Mbit/s). Tests carried out prior to the launch by EE have delivered consistent results of 2.8Gbps.
To put this into perspective, this means it would take around 10 minutes to download a full HD film using 4G. With 5G, this could take less than 10 seconds … that’s 100x faster, and that’s no joke.
But that’s just the start. The communications watchdog Ofcom suggests that 5G could offer speeds of 20Gbps in the future. But for now, the lines only have a total capacity of 10Gbps, and this must be shared around, so speeds aren’t likely to reach those figures for some time. Still, it’s an improvement on 4G and it’s potential is phenomenal.
There’s also the small matter of latency. Wait time, buffering, lag, load time – whatever you call it, it all means the same, the delay between instruction and transfer of data. 5G has been predicted to have latency of one millisecond or less. Compare that with the 20-70 milliseconds offered by current network 4G and you can see why that’s a big deal.
5G is nowhere near that kind of sophistication yet, but it will be.
Why do we need it?
To put it simply, the world is changing. Mobiles have become the future and as we chomp through data like there’s no tomorrow with the rise of video and music streaming, we need to cater for this. Existing network bandwidth is too crowded, leading to breakdowns in service, especially in densely populated locations. 5G is much better at dealing with multiple devices simultaneously than 4G has ever been and that’s why there’s a huge push to bring it to the public sphere.
A BBC source suggests that 5G will be able to simultaneously support more than a million devices per sq km (0.4 sq miles), which annihilates the near 60,000 that 4G can cope with at any one time. But in order to do this, antennas will be needed. Everywhere. And not just antennas, thousands upon thousands of sensors to capture data that will in turn, allow those with the need-to-know, gain deeper, more intelligent data insights about consumers, goods, services and members of the public.
Now that’s smart.
The great thing about the 5G launch is that from on, we learn. Today is the start of a very exciting time for current generations and generations to come. Increased speeds, limitless uses and the potential to make everything we do smarter, more efficient and more productive, can only be a good sign. It will take time to nail it, but once the networks get a hold of the functionality and uses of this next-gen technology, the possibilities really are endless. Watch this space ….
Want to Know More?
If you want to discuss 5G, it’s roll-out and the business benefits it can offer you, get in touch with one of our experts who can guide you through the launch and help you make the most of the next-generation of technology.