5G mobile – so what’s that all about?

The all-IP 4G LTE network has delivered mass smartphone adoption and fundamentally changed the ways that people communicate. There’s a lot more to come from 4G too, ahead of 5G service launches in the late 2019 – 2022 timeframe.

So, what more will the fifth-generation of mobile communications offer? Users are likely to enjoy even faster mobile broadband speeds enabling ultra-HD services, smart homes, enhanced cloud services connectivity and increase data capacity to support services delivered to large, ever-growing groups of consumers. The real revolution though, is likely to come from industry, with machines, buildings and entire cities connected to the cloud in a massive ‘Internet of Things’ – all benefiting from dense signal coverage & capacity, extended device battery life, and the optimised data delivery possible with 5G. 5G will also enable new types of mission-critical communications, where low latency on the network will support applications including autonomous vehicles, industrial automation and remote healthcare services.

5G networks will enable something called ‘network slicing’. This allows network operators to provide dedicated virtual networks with capabilities specific to the service, application or customer, but delivered over a common network infrastructure.

Different services require differing network functionality and performance. 5G network slicing will allow this. For example, autonomous vehicles will depend on the ability to communicate with a multitude of other devices, roadside infrastructure, services and other vehicles very quickly and efficiently (i.e. with low latency), but won’t necessarily need high data throughput speeds. Conversely, passengers travelling in such an autonomous vehicle, and wanting to view their favourite TV show over a streaming service will need low latency and high-speed data throughput to enjoy their entertainment experience. So here you have an example of differing services being delivered over the same physical network, but on different virtual network slices, with differing service delivery characteristics.

In the United Kingdom, our telecoms regulator Ofcom has recently completed a round of radio spectrum auctions in the 3.4GHz band, which will be used for 5G services. The incumbent mobile network operators; EE, Vodafone, Three and Telefonica O2 have each won blocks of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band, with O2 also picking up a big chunk of much-needed 2.3GHz spectrum, which is already being used to improve their 4G capacity and coverage.

InnovationScouts.tech will be launching a program of 5G for Business seminars during early 2019. Each seminar will combine a technology and market orientation and workshop, lead by industry experts to help you be aware, prepare and plan action.  Please contact me at paul@innovationscouts.tech for more details..

Paul Moss is Director and co-founder at InnovationScouts.tech. Paul has worked in the mobile communications industry for more than 25 years, and has led the introduction of a number of pioneering technology innovations, from the world’s first secure mobile banking services, building Virgin Mobile’s ground-breaking Virgin Xtras Mobile Content portal, launching Europe’s first iMode devices and delivering a number of ground-breaking 3G and 4G devices and services with leading operators including Vodafone Group, Orange, EE and T-Mobile.

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