First commercial 5G rollout will begin in 2020—Report

Swedish Automotive Company Scania is closely working with Ericsson on trials of the new fifth-generation wireless broadband technology, expected to be rolled out globally in 2020 according to a report.

The 5G technology promises much faster data transfer speeds, broader coverage and much efficient use of spectrum bandwidth. Scania wishes to use the 5G technology in order to improve their driverless transport solutions, in order to improve the oil efficiency the self-driving lorries should drive closer and to avoid unexpected collision there must be an improvement in wireless communications, in other words, faster data transfers e.g. 5G technology.

Andreas Hoglund, senior engineer for intelligent transport at Scania says, “Platooning of transport vehicles works well with Wi-Fi but when the traffic is dense and communication with a large number of vehicles, 5G is designed to provide more reliable communication.”

The communication becomes direct between devices or vehicles in 5G which doesn’t have to pass the base station, as it currently does, using Wi-Fi, he added.

Scania is focused on developing 5G technology for its transport solutions which could significantly reduce the oil consumption, air drag and other expensive vehicles currently incur, also promote the sustainable greener environment.

The 5G technology is designed to facilitate the growing number of devices that rely on mobile broadband, from fridges to cars—the technology is 10 times faster than the highest possible 4G can deliver.

Mischa Dohler, professor in wireless communications at King’s College London said, “The 5G will enable a lot of applications which were unthinkable before.”

5G development around the world

South Korea plans to implement 5G for winter Olympics in February 2018, it will provide access to visitors to Virtual Reality (VR) content on their mobile phones.

In the UK, one of the first 5G testing facility is in Brighton, a non-profit innovation group, Digital Catapult Centre has completed the series of workshops for small businesses.

Moreover, there are other tech giants who are building the capacity and testing the 5G spectrum in their own capacity, ZTE, AT&T, Apple and others have already begun their journey to test 5G technology, AT&T has reportedly invested $1.25 billion in this regard.

The Potential of 5G technology

Richard Scott, innovation manager at Digital Catapult describes 5G in comparison to 4G and says, “5G is lightening as compared to 4G it has the potential to download 100GB 4K movie in just 2 and a half minutes”. But it’s not just about the speed it carries, it has the features which would enable and unlock future technologies, he added.

The Wi-Fi connection is fine as far as you are sitting in a place with limited number of connections, but as the number of users increases and you start moving there would be a significant drop in connection, this makes the 5G technology standout, Wi-Fi is unable to provide seamless connectivity when it comes to the situations mentioned above.

This is because every Wi-Fi signal has a defined range however, 5G will be much flexible which will enable the mobile devices switching between various available frequencies.

One frequency, for instance, will be for long-distance connections across rural areas, and one will be for urban areas accommodating a high number of users with high-speed connectivity and data transfer, there will also be the high-capacity frequency for over populated areas, such as stadiums and railway stations.

Faster wireless technology would be a precursor to boost Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies, says Scott.

“If you try to run a detailed immersive VR experience on you mobile phone currently it would make you feel sick even with fastest 4G network”, he further explains.

So currently, high-quality VR experiences require a mobile device “tethered” to a computer to provide necessary computing power, whereas 5G will offer you high-quality experiences while on the move.

Would you be able to afford 5G?

Head of Ericsson’s 5G commercialization, Thomas Noren, is satisfied with the affordability of 5G services, he argues that 5G services would be cheaper to run as the network would be more energy efficient, as well as the operational and production costs would be much lower, however there is a significant investment initially to build the networks.

There is more research needed to come to the real forecasts of 5G technology but Ovum a research consultancy firm predicts that the world would see 389 million 5G subscribers globally by the end of 2022.

Users that are currently experiencing patchy 4G services might become skeptical about the ambitions and claims the tech giants are making about 5G but 5G’s potential to transform the number of businesses and the room for newer businesses and technologies are evident.