For many years now the mobile industry has been touting how next generation 5G networks will change the way we use the internet and revolutionise everything from agriculture to manufacturing and automotive. After years of hyping the technology, 2020 seems to be the year that 5G becomes a reality and goes mainstream. All the big US mobile phone service providers have already launched 5G services in select cities across the country. Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and LG have already launched 5G compatible devices.
A billion units by 2025
Apple is planning to launch its first 5G device this year and it is expected that by 2025 sales of 5G devices will exceed 1 billion units according to industry experts. But what exactly is the promise of 5G phones and their networks. Christiano Amon of Qualcomm the company that designs the Snapdragon processors that power the most powerful phones says new technology needs to solve a problem. 4G began with delivering wireless internet connectivity, whilst 4G was about delivering broadband kind of bandwidth to mobile devices. According to Mr Amon 5G is for a mature wireless connected society.
Dealing with congestion
This essentially means that 5G will be developed to take care of congestion and large crowds. For example, people attending sporting events or concerts at a stadium will no longer face sluggish speeds when attempting to upload a photo. Mr Amon adds that 5G has been designed to that consumers will have consistent levels of performance. In the US the major telcos all offer unlimited data plans, but many of those plans come with trade-offs like speed throttling after a data limit has been hit or lower video quality. With 5G however, it is highly likely that unlimited data plans will become the norm.
Wi-Fi may become redundant
This means consumers will no longer need find themselves scrambling to connect to a nearby Wi-Fi network because 5G has been designed the demand for data consumption. Telecoms companies however will have to be willing to modify the current plans they offer to match this infinite demand for data consumption. 5G will also have the ability to connect mobile devices to the cloud far more reliably than 4G networks could. This means apps will be able to handle more resource intensive operations directly from the cloud and beam it to mobile devices.
This is actually game change because performance will no longer be solely tied to the hardware of the mobile device. This means a new class of “super” apps could be enabled Mr Amon says. Tech giants like Microsoft and Google are already experimenting with services that allow users to play console quality games on any device by streaming them to either phone or TV through cloud-connected servers. Mr Amon says that consumers will see a more reliable connection that will enable they kinds of services to evolve. Right now, it is possible with even with a poor 4G signal to stream a song but that is not true for video. This may change as 5G networks are deployed.