If you believe the hype, 5G is going to revolutionise a host of industries from driverless cars to holographic entertainment, but are you ready for it?
Unlike 3G and 4G, which have been used almost exclusively as phone networks, the speed improvements and reduced latency times will mean that 5G will be how much of the world will be connected over the next five to ten years – replacing both the wireless 3G/4G of current mobile phones and the wired connections of home/office broadband. And the stability of the connection will mean it could help the launch of driverless cars, virtual reality gaming, and much more.
In terms of pure speed, 5G connectivity should see real-world speeds of 100-200Mbps, which is at least triple most 4G speeds and the same as the most expensive home fibre broadband services from the likes of BT and Virgin, and every device can be connected independently. Your phone, laptop, tablet, and more can all connect directly to the 5G network and give you superfast speeds wherever you are without the need for a home WiFi router with repeaters in every room.
The constant connectivity will mean that all those people who were smug that they had “future-proofed” their home with fibre connectivity will suddenly find out that everyone else will get just as fast speeds without having done any of the preparation. And if the phone networks manage to roll-out the 5G connectivity as expected, we might finally see the most rural communities finally services with decent internet connections!
On the phone front, we can expect nearly every flagship smartphone to be released in the UK from now onwards to offer 5G connectivity. The next Google Pixel and Apple iPhone are both rumoured to have 5G modems inside, but if not then when we compare mobile phones come November it will be hard to argue these phones are really flagship devices at all when there are already eight phone on the market with 5G connectivity, namely the Huawei Mate X 5G, LG V50 ThinQ, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, Oppo Reno 5G, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, and ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G.
Overall, analysts expect 5G to deliver up to 1,000 times more data than current networks and that will revolutionise the digital world. Always-on, superfast connections, anywhere in the country will improve productivity and make the UK a truly digital-first country, with each of us more connected to one another and each device we have more connected to each other as well. If you think we’re always connected now, just wait until 5G is commonplace by 2021.
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