With 2019 right around the corner, we’re all looking toward the future. And when it comes to mobile connectivity, the future is 5G. And the future is here.
What is 5G exactly?
5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE/WiMax), 3G (UMTS), and 2G (GSM) systems; and it promises to be much faster than 4G. How much faster? The average download speed of a 5G connection is expected to be about 1 GBps, that’s gigabytes per second. (Brush up on GB, MB, and other acronyms here.)
To put that in perspective, 4G LTE was ten times faster than 3G with an average of 12-30 MBps. 5G is expected to be 20 times faster than that. For anyone who remembers dial-up Internet and waiting hours for certain songs or videos to download, imagine being able to download an entire high-definition film in a minute or so.
What will it enable us to do?
Due to low latency—the time it takes to get a response to information sent—5G will enable things such as multiplayer gaming, self-driving cars, and wearable fitness devices that can monitor your health in real time, alerting doctors as soon as any emergency arises. Stop and think about that for a moment. That’s just one example in one industry. Imagine what it could mean for your business.
5G networks will provide such strong internet service that Internet of Things (IoT) devices can be properly supported without putting too much strain on the company’s available bandwidth. This will make IoT solutions easier to implement, and as more IoT devices are added to the network, companies will be able to do so much more.
Why do we need it?
The world is going mobile and we’re consuming more data every year, particularly as the popularity of video and music streaming increases. Existing spectrum bands are becoming congested, leading to breakdowns in service, particularly when lots of people in the same area are trying to access online mobile services at the same time. 5G is much better at handling thousands of devices simultaneously, from mobile phones to equipment sensors, video cameras to smart street lights.
When is it coming?
AT&T has already announced that it will launch 5G wireless service in 12 cities by the end of the year, including Atlanta. Verizon is bringing fixed 5G to homes in Sacramento, CA, and four additional markets this year, but hasn’t announced detailed plans for mobile 5G. As for Sprint, it’s eyeing an early 2019 rollout. T-Mobile is also aiming for a 2019 launch followed by nationwide 5G coverage in 2020.
Will I need a new phone?
Yes, I’m afraid so. The first 5G-ready smartphones are expected to be ready in early 2019. Two 5G phones have already been announced. Motorola’s Verizon-exclusive Moto Z3 is a 4G phone with a 5G-capable accessory called a Moto Mod. The phone is available to buy now, but its 5G accessory won’t go on sale until Verizon’s 5G network lights up in 2019. LG is planning to release a fully integrated 5G phone, no add-ons required, in the first half of 2019 on Sprint’s network. LG says its device will be in line with other flagship smartphones in terms of price, battery life, size, weight and performance.
How will this change my business?
According to McKinsey & Company, large-scale deployment of 5G won’t happen until the early 2020’s. That means there’s still time to plan. But it’ll be here before you know it, and individual workforce changes can be expected even before that. So dream up your big ideas now.
Imagine what ‘instantaneous’ can mean for your products, your processes, and your customers. Consider the IoT devices you could implement to streamline what you’re currently doing or to move up to the next level. Then talk to your managed IT services provider and make a plan to bring your business into the future.
Not sure where to start? We can help.