1. Keep it brief
With new 5G information being released daily from around the world, it can be hard to comprehend the big picture and the true cost of 5G to society. Every day, companies are starting 5G trials in new cities, announcing when customers can order their 5G service, and speculators and businesses are releasing potential ideas for how 5G will transform the way we live and work. 5G will drive an estimated $12 trillion of annual sales by 2035 – the size of China’s economy in 2018.
2. What’s going on here?
5G defined, and how fast is it? 5G (Fifth Generation wireless) is primarily designed to enable a superior data communication rate between wireless local area networks (WLAN). As the next generation of mobile broadband, it will replace or augment its 4G/LTE predecessor and will set the stage for 6G service. Simply put, 5G is simply the next numbered generation following 4G, which replaced all the older technologies.
- 1G introduced analogue voice
- 2G introduced digital voice
- 3G ushered in mobile data
- 4G paved the way for widespread mobile internet usage
Why do we need 5G? As of March this year, nearly 57% of the world population is now connected to the internet, according to Internet World Stats. The need for increased bandwidth and faster internet speed is a response to the world’s growing demand for connectivity. We shall discuss these needs and the market opportunities this brings to businesses below.
When will we fully transition into a 5G era? A daunting task: as 5G entails a set of simultaneous revolutions, parties involved like telecommunications service providers, transmission equipment makers, antenna manufacturers, and server manufacturers that are currently working to operate and fully deploy all of 5G’s components. As the 5G rollout continues throughout 2020, it’s predicted that there will be 1 billion 5G customers by 2023.
In this competitive trial period, companies are racing to claim the top spot for the provider of 5G services in order to benefit from the lucrative demand of our ever-growing businesses and consumers. The telecommunications industry are seeing top players inventing data transmission technologies, accelerating innovations via partnerships. We also see countries providing greater regularisation and safer waters in which to develop, deploy, protect and optimize their networks. This process, in turn, enhances a countries’ global leadership in 5G research and helps drive the creation of standards for the next major phase of innovation in mobile telecommunications.
3. What does this mean?
- 5G phones are also an important component of this new fifth-generation cellular network because not just any phone can work with a 5G network. Phones and other devices that run on 5G networks are currently available from some providers with more set to come out later this year.
- 5G availability is extremely limited right now, with only a few locations having a live, non-demo, subscriber-based network up and running. However, many companies are just a few months away from launching a full-blown 5G network for customers to use.
The revolution, like all others, will be subsidized. The initial costs of these 5G infrastructure improvements may be tremendous, and consumers have already demonstrated their intolerance for rate hikes. So to recover those costs, telcos will need to offer new classes of service to new customer segments, for which 5G has made provisions. Customers have to believe 5G wireless is capable of accomplishing feats that were impossible for 4G.
For Global markets:
Global leader Huawei denies US allegations The future of digital connectivity is seen as an important strategic asset, and many countries — especially in China and the U.S. — are competing for control. Most notably, the US has heavily pressured it’s Five Eyes alliance – UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to boycott Huawei from the coming wave of wireless communications in recent months, and took the first step in banning it entirely for years on national security grounds after alleging links between Huawei and the Chinese government.
The US needs Huawei Last year, Huawei’s revenue grew 20% to $104 billion as it overtook Apple in global smartphone shipments. Although the company is now expecting sales to decline [to “just” $100 billion in 2019 – significantly less than the $120 billion it was previously forecasting], Huawei’s founder comments that the ban of its suppliers will only hurt their lower-end products on the side,
US: On the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka, Trump said “U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” without going into detail. “We’re talking about equipment where there’s no great national security problem with it,” Trump continued. It’s not clear what this means for now, but it’s likely Huawei will be able to acquire basic components like Qualcomm processors and Google’s Android OS. In 2018, Huawei spent around $11 billion on chips made by Intel, Qualcomm, and Micron alone. the WSJ reported China would make lifting of the Huawei sanctions an essential condition for any trade agreement with the U.S.
The response? Most countries stand with Chinese Tech Giant Huawei. Huawei has become a political hot potato as nations around the world to decide whether to allow the Chinese company to become part of 5G networks.
The US has since had to source 5G equipment from other – likely more expensive – suppliers, weighing on its earnings. But security concerns make the alternative, for now, unthinkable…
- UK operators Vodafone and Three are moving ahead with 5G rollout plans on the assumption that Chinese kit supplier Huawei will not be excluded from radio access network (RAN) infrastructure contracts. Neither telco uses Huawei in the potentially vulnerable “core” (the intelligent part of the network).
- Canada is weighing its options. Huawei is still buying land from Montreal to Vancouver, touting it is as its ‘global centre for theoretical research’.
- Japan has effectively banned Huawei by ruling companies should not use equipment unless they can “take sufficient cybersecurity measures including responding to supply chain risk”, which all four major carriers have agreed to, so companies like SoftBank are having to turn to Nokia and replacing Huawei equipment used in its 4G LTE network.
- Australia and New Zealand have also imposed bans on its next-gen data technology.
- German regulators preferred to draft tougher rules for all vendors rather than meet the U.S. demand to cut potential ties with Huawei.
For us all:
It is a capital improvement project the size of the entire planet, replacing one wireless architecture created this century with another one that aims to lower energy consumption and maintenance costs. It’s also a huge gamble on the future of transmission technology, doubling down on consumers’ willingness to upgrade.
Does the previous formula/model for 4G work for 5G, or will we soon need a new one?
4. What is Next for 5G?
Technology is ever-transformative, and 5G will change the way we live, learn and work with no exception. For example, we no longer need an iPod to listen to music, all we need to have is a Spotify or iTunes account and we are able to stream music on the go. 5G will turbocharge existing capabilities of every IoT sensor, financial transaction, a payment device, and interactive dashboard; in much the same way how the 1985 Apple LaserWriter gave birth to desktop publishing, or how mobile payments have dwindled cash use. This is only scratching the surface of how technology will help us build a better future together.
Writers: Vikky Beh
Editor: Stella Anne
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