Get ready for the super-connected world of 5G
5G technology is set to revolutionise mobile communications. But what is it and why is it being seen as such a game-changer for businesses?
“The capabilities of 5G have the potential to deliver transformative impacts for key sectors of the UK economy.”
That’s the conclusion of a 2018 report by Deloitte for the Department for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport (DCMS). It’s also been predicted that national 5G infrastructure will contribute an additional £7 billion a year to the UK economy by 2026, with an additional £3 billion a year via the supply chain (Development Economics report for O2, 2017).
But what exactly is 5G and how will it benefit your business? Why is it seen as so transformative by everyone from tech experts to CEOs of major corporations?
A whole new ball game
5G is an abbreviation for ‘fifth generation mobile networks’. It won’t just be faster, it will be phenomenally faster, with average speeds of more than 1Gb/s and potentially up to 10Gb/s. (That’s about 100 times faster than standard 4G.) It’s also expected to be super-reliable, with much less risk of dropped calls or connectivity, and it will offer greater capacity.
However, the real advantage of 5G technology is its flexibility and interoperability. That means it can drive development of the ‘Internet of Things’, which will connect not just communications devices, but all sorts of other ‘things’, from cars to home appliances.
Benefits for business
For businesses, 5G means improved voice and video communications, enabling more effective and more secure remote working for everyone from home-based employees to itinerant engineers. It’s an ideal platform for Unified Communications (UC) systems, which seamlessly integrate telephony, messaging, data sharing, conferencing, call management and fixed line-mobile convergence.
Businesses can also expect to benefit from cost savings. For example, it’s estimated that 5G could extend the battery life of devices substantially. In addition, it is thought it will reduce reliance on hardware infrastructure, cutting capital investment and maintenance costs.
What’s more, because 5G networks can be more easily segmented or ‘sliced’, businesses will be able to create smaller virtual networks that can be individually managed and assigned specific tasks or processes.
How do you access 5G?
In terms of hardware, you’ll need a new 5G-enabled smartphone or tablet. Leading manufacturers have already announced 5G-capable models of popular handsets, including the Samsung Galaxy 10, which is now available and the Huawei Mate X.
Will it replace 4G?
5G networks will initially be run alongside 4G networks, although the intention will be eventually to phase out 4G entirely. Of course, the rollout of 5G will mean 4G networks will carry less and less traffic, and consequently less demand will be placed on them.
Some 5G availability is expected during 2019, with EE having announced that it’s already launched in London and five other cities, while Vodafone is planning to launch the beginning of July and O2 are planning to launch before the end of the year. However, the main rollout will begin in 2020, and widespread UK coverage may not be in place until 2022 at the earliest.
5G doesn’t just take things to the next level in mobile connectivity. Many experts are saying that it will be a key driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, empowering a super-connected world in which it’s not just people who talk to each other, but devices and appliances too. For businesses large and small, it’s a world of opportunity.
If you’d like to find out more, why not speak to one of our team on 01223 661636 or email us at email@example.com