Prime Insight
Prime Insight

Where Are We On 5G?

Posting date: 25 July 2019
Matthieu Pirouelle our consultant managing the role

Unlock Your Future With The Potential Of 5G

5G has the capacity to change the world, and the way we do things, beyond all recognition:

  • Imagine a world in which cars can travel at speeds of 110 km per hour and more, with no fear of accidents. And not only cars. Autonomous trucks, trains and planes transport freight and passengers in total comfort and safety.
  • Imagine a world in which lifesaving operations can be performed by a team of specialist surgeons, dispersed around the globe, while the patient is thousands of kilometres away from any one of them. 
  • Imagine crops grown to their optimum, each single plant receiving the exact amount of nourishment it needs from drones that fly over fields, analysing individual plants and feeding them only when required, and picking them when at their peak.
  • Imagine vast factories in which robots operate every piece of machinery, seamlessly navigating from one task to another, and collaborating with other robots wirelessly to explode productivity.

These are just a few of the futuristic dreams that could soon become reality. All thanks to 5G, a technology advance that I expect you’ve heard a lot about. Yet, despite 5G making headlines around the world, few people understand what this mobile development (jobs link) really is, and how it could impact all our lives.

What Is 5G

The 5G network is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity. It offers wireless data speeds up to 200 times faster than possible in 4G. Instead of streaming one movie in HD, technically you will be able to stream 400 movies in 4K simultaneously. 5G is going to change the way that devices connect to the internet, and how they connect to each other.

The speed of connection makes possible all the dreams I opened with. Autonomous cars could exchange data with others around them in one millisecond. Device-to-device reactions will be 200 times faster than human reactions.

Networks will be able to carry more data, way faster than today. A more connected, smarter world beckons. But when?

When Is 5G Arriving?

This is the question on the lips of most tech geeks. Hundreds of billions of dollars have been invested in 5G. NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, has been experimenting with 5G for the best part of a decade. In comparison to the lightning speed of 5G, its delivery has seemingly progressed at a snail’s pace. 

We risk 5G fatigue by the time it is here, but it is on its way. Ericsson has forecast that the 5G network will be available to almost two-thirds of the world’s population by 2024, with 1. 9 billion subscribed to it. As coverage spreads, the power of your mobile phone will ratchet up – figuratively, the world will be in your hands. In some locations, it already is (sort of). 

Here is a summary of where 5G sits today. It is not a comprehensive list, but should give you a very good idea of how the development of 5G is expected to progress over the next two to five years.

5G In North America

In the United States there are a handful of locations already connected. The pace of connections will accelerate through 2019, and by 2023 it is expected that 32% of North American mobile connections will be on a 5G network. This includes in Canada, where some test sites will go live in 2019 and live sites are expected to come online in earnest in 2020.

5G networks are promised for Mexico in 2020, though some may start later this year. In Puerto Rico, 5G is expected to start rolling out during the second half of 2019.

5G In South And Central America

The most populated countries in South America will see rollout from late 2019, while Central American countries are well behind the curve with no dates yet announced.

5G was tested in Argentina in 2017, and is set to rollout in 2019, along with 5G in Chile. Colombia tested 5G in Bogota in mid-2018, in expectation of live dates starting in 2020. We should expect Brazil to start going live in 2020, also.

5G In Europe

Some European countries have some live 5G networks, and more will roll out during 2019 and 2020.

The UK’s first 5G launched at the end of May 2019, and networks in the major cities are expected to start before 2020. All the major networks are racing toward 5G in the UK.

France is due its first live 5G connection in 2019. In Germany, trials began in 2018, with commercial operations starting in 2020. It is forecast that 90% of the country will be covered by 2025. In Austria, 5G stations are being deployed, though it is unclear when customers will have access. The Swiss had their first live 5G network in April 2019, and more than 90% of the country will have access to 5G by the end of 2019.

In the Mediterranean countries, 5G has been launched in five cities in June 2019, and more will follow through the year and into 2020. Major carriers are rolling out their 5G networks in many of Spain’s main cities from mid-2019, after successful trials in late 2018 and early 2019. Portugal had its first live 5G connection in December 2018.

Among the Scandinavian countries, Finland was ahead of the game when its first commercial 5G network was launched in June 2018. In December 2018, Helsinki Airport became the world’s first 5G airport. Rollout to the remainder of Finland is gathering pace. Meanwhile, Norway started testing 5G as long ago as 2017, though networks are not expected to go live commercially until pilots have proved successful through 2019. In Sweden, commercial launches of 5G are mostly planned for 2020.

Russia expects 80% of its population to have access to a 5G network by 2025, though at least one provider has questioned Russia’s infrastructure to do so.

Limited 5G networks went live in Poland and Estonia in December 2018, with more coverage expected in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

5G In Asia

In South Korea, providers collaborated to bring 5G live for businesses in December 2018, extending to others in April 2019.

In Japan, NTT DoCoMo carried out several tests in the second half of 2018, including a testing control of a humanoid robot. The company rolled out a soft launch of its 5G services in September 2019 with the official launch in 2020.

In China, 5G is currently live in several areas, and pilot projects currently exist in many other cities. The pace of deployment is accelerating, with 2020 inked in as a year in which 5G rollout will be widespread.

Indian authorities plan to be in step with the global rollout of 5G in 2020. In Indonesia, a largescale trial of 5G took place at the 2018 Asian Games, though rollout is not expected until 2020 or later.

Testing has started in Thailand, and is ongoing in the Philippines and Singapore. Rollout in these three countries should start from 2020. Malaysia, Pakistan, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Iran are also expected to see 5G going live in 2020.

Already, there are live 5G networks in Kuwait and UAE. At the other end of the scale, it is not known when Turkey will deliver live 5G, though 5G trials have been approved in three cities – Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara. 

5G In Oceania

Queensland became Australia’s first state to have a 5G-ready network in 2018. Across the country, further deployment of 5G is expected through 2019 and 2020. New Zealand should have a full 5G network ready to go by 2020, and in Guam, 5G fixed wireless access is coming in the second half of 2019.

5G In Africa

5G networks are currently going live in South Africa, with many providers completing successful tests since 2018. Morocco’s largest telecom company, Inwi, plans to start deploying 5G base stations through 2019. Elsewhere in Africa, the picture is less clear. While Nigeria should have 5G rollout in 2020, some countries such as Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo have no clear plans for 5G.

Asian Investment In 5G

Though Asian countries are broadly in step with the rest of the world, you should expect the region to take an increasingly important lead. Countries and companies here are outgunning others with investment spending of epic proportion.

China is Asia’s largest investor in technology. It is expected to spend $US256 billion this year and US$273 billion in 2020. More than half of this spend will be in 5G. Since 2015, it has out-invested the United States in 5G technology by US$24 billion, according to research by Forrester.

Japan is not far behind China, with spending on technology set at US$198 billion in 2019. India’s technology spending in 2019 is forecast at US$70 billion, while South Korea and Hong Kong will each invest around US$50 billion.

China and South Korea aim to be the world’s major players in 5G, with businesses racing to transform their operations, becoming more efficient and boosting productivity.

In the Asian countries, investment in the digital economy could add as much as US$1 trillion to the Asian economy by 2025. 

How Could Industries Benefit?

The huge addition to the Asian economy is because of how 5G has the potential to transform whole industries.

In healthcare, the development of remote and robotic surgery and easier access to remote patient records is expected to free up millions of hours of medical professionals’ time. New businesses are likely to develop, and job opportunities will improve across telcos, pharma, wearable device manufacturers, and app developers.

Manufacturing companies will become more automated, improving efficiencies and productivity. Jobs will shift from task-oriented roles to creativity. Products should become cheaper to make, and consumers should benefit from faster delivery. The skills shortage on the manufacturing line will become a thing of the past.

The transport industry will benefit from autonomous vehicles and smart cities, with congestion falling. People should be able to work as they travel in their cars. Driverless trucks could be on the roads within a few years.

The retail experience will be transformed, too. Customers will be able to visualise products wherever they are, thanks to AR technology enabled by 5G. Smaller independent retail businesses will be able to deploy apps more easily to help customers find them.

Agriculture will benefit from greater efficiencies, too. Automated, robotic operations will deliver better crop yields. Fields will be scanned to pre-warn of plant health problems, insects, and approaching weather fronts. AI systems will be deployed to aid pest deterrents.

How 5G Could Transform Businesses

5G will transform the world of business. Communication is an obvious winner, with faster speeds and lower latency. Greater capacity will enable networks to cope with more high-demand applications simultaneously, with businesses benefiting from reliability and flexibility.

5G will allow businesses to take full advantage of remote talent – you can forget dropped connections and stilted conference calls. With 5G empowering seamless connectivity, the use of AR and VR technology will make it feel like remote workers are in the same room. Benefiting from the power of 5G, businesses are likely to experience lower costs.

Office spaces will become more flexible, as ‘smart buildings’ enable more flexible and secure workspaces. People travelling to these buildings could make their journeys in automated traffic flows, reducing commute times. Faster connectivity speeds on trains will enable people to work during their commutes and travel out of the office.

How 5G Could Change Daily Lives

Faster and more reliable connectivity will alter the way you work and play. You will be able to work more effectively wherever you are, and AR technology will transform the way you do things. It will change the way you view the world. Having read this article, you should have a good idea of the benefits that 5G could bring you, but it may create new realities such as:

  • ‘Real’ virtual dating, allowing you to meet and date people who are in a different city or country
  • Being able to use AR glasses to view new furniture layouts and decorating combinations – view your living room in the local furniture store
  • Rating yourself before you go out, and receive recommendations to improve your appearance

In the classroom and in the workplace, 5G will enable microlearning and gamification.

We may communicate to others in a different way, too. We have moved from voice to video. How about ‘Star Wars’-style holographic communications?

5G has the power to change life. Its potential is huge. How you take advantage of this potential is what really matters. To discuss your options and discover new, life changing career opportunities in the 5G world of the future, contact Prime Insight today

Related blogs

empty office

How to Conquer the Challenges of Managing Remote Teams

Read More

Could Digital Technology Exterminate Exercise Apathy?

Read More

5 Best Travel Planner Apps for Business and Pleasure

Read More

The 7-Step How-to Guide to Digital Detox

Read More

Ecommerce Jobs Boom Likely with Trends in Asian Ecommerce

Read More

Could Asian Companies Be Crippled By EU GDPR?

Read More

The Chatbot Revolution

Read More

You Are Now Live – Digital Marketing in a Live Stream World

Read More

Influencer Marketing: Real People Making an Influence

Read More

Would you like to upload a: