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Jan 4, 2018

Industry insights,

The future of 5G

What is 5G and when will the UK start to benefit?

Our use of mobile devices has exploded in recent years, influenced by the availability of having high-speed data connections such as 4G and the devices to support rich media experiences such as smartphones and tablets. Though as more people opt to consume content on the move and via their network provider, 4G will become unable to cope with the demand and 5G will take over.

How does 5G work?

5G mobile networks are expected to handle more data and connect to more devices, while providing greater levels of reliability and reducing any buffering that users might currently experience on their current 4G or 3G connection. 5G connectivity will provide a super-fast and super reliable connection with expected speeds of up to 100Mbps. To bridge the gap between 4G and 5G some parts of the UK will already be starting to experience faster connection speeds thanks to LTE-Advanced, which can offer download speeds of between 30-50Mbps.

Both LTE-Advanced and 5G provide faster connection speeds by actually separating the data into their relevant bandwidth limitations. By categorising and pooling the data the end user is able to experience much greater download and connectivity speeds.

Why is 5G so vital?

If you remember what connectivity was like a few years ago before 4G or even before 3G, you’ll already have some idea of why the move to 5G is so important to the ongoing global economy. In fact by 2035, which is the date that 5G is planned to be widely available, this connectivity is predicted to fuel a global economy that could be worth upwards of $12.3 trillion, generating $3.5 trillion in revenue and 22 million jobs. In addition, over time 5G is set to boost global GDP growth by $3 trillion over a 15 year period.

Some of the big technology brands, such as Apple, Nokia and Samsung, are starting to invest in 5G. They are already making headway by introducing 4.5G Pro which delivers speeds ten times faster than standard 4G. These brands are pivotal players in making sure 5G can be achieved on a global scale by 2035.

This date sounds like a long way off, but the UK is already way behind where it should be for standard 4G connectivity, 22%* of the whole geographical area of the UK still currently unable to access 4G, while currently ranked 54th in the world for connectivity.

Having said this, Vodafone and Ericsson announced last month successful tests conducted in London of ‘pre-standard’ 5G speeds, proving that the UK might not be as far behind as originally thought.

*Ofcom – Connected Nations 2017, report