5G is coming, but what does it mean?

POSTED BY Nitin Bhas
There are many operators, vendors, industry bodies, academic and research institutions investing in 5G, with research and development activities, planned network trials and commitments. Operators have either publically commented on or confirmed their interest in 5G networks. 

The ‘5G Vision’ includes key requisites such as network speeds of at least 10Gbps, 1ms latency or less, improved spectral efficiency, low energy consumption, better battery life, higher device density - along with improved reliability and flexibility. Sounds good right?

Hossein Moiin from Nokia Networks writes – ‘this sounds like futuristic wishful thinking, but, of course, so too did the idea of carrying around a mini supercomputer in your pocket’.

But the key question here is - what does 5G mean?

Industry views vary as to whether the technological advantages of 5G will serve as the catalyst for the introduction of innovative data devices and services or whether they will simply provide capacity relief for heavily loaded networks.

5G will not only enable faster connections but will act as a catalyst for a wide range of new consumer and enterprise experiences, including both data intensive and energy efficient applications: high definition 4K-8K video, self-driving cars, advanced Virtual Reality, and a sensory/tactile Internet – constantly monitoring and controlling.

The Billion Dollar Question
With 5G expected to enable new business models, operators will need to consider multiple service deployment scenarios to achieve an adequate ROI (Return on Investment) from their network and licence investments. These discrete segments or services enabled by 5G will require transparent and competitive pricing based on data usage, device type, and speeds; this means that profit margins will vary with regards to the sector enabled. 

Juniper forecasts a healthy adoption for 5G, with service revenues set to exceed $65 billion by 2025, compared to just $100 million during its first year of commercial services in 2020. In the meantime, we will keep analysing key announcements from operators, vendors, and regulators on different technological and standardisation aspects - watch this space.