There is little questions that 5G is around the corner. However, when 5G will actually impact you and your life is a more open, and sensible, question. So, let us find out from the major players what we can actually expect from 5G in 2018, 2019 and beyond.
5G is going to make things like super-fast internet, connected cars, everything in cloud and fleets of flying drones a reality and every company, from network operators to network equipment manufacturers and device makers have something to say about 5G.
5G refers to a collection of wireless technologies that represent the 5th generation of wireless communications. To make 5G true, industry players are combining millimeter wave radios that cover the 26GHz to 60GHz spectrum with other technologies like massive MIMO, which is the practice of bringing together 50 to 200 antennas on a single transmitter, to offer greater bandwidth and capacity
The benefits of 5G include super-fast upload and download speeds that can exceed 1 Gbps, latency as low as 1 millisecond and when massive MIMO is applied, 5G should also be able to deliver these speeds to a much larger crowds of devices.
Now, smartphones would seem to be the biggest beneficiary of these technology updates. Since the official 5G NR specifications were recently approved, every network operator both in the US and abroad is working on upgrading their networks to support 5G.
One network operator has confirmed that it will launch a commercial 5G network at the end of 2018. So, let’s take a look at the leading network operators around the world do discover what they are really doing with 5G over the coming year.
AT&T expects to be the first network operator in U.S. to introduce mobile 5G service in a dozen markets by late 2018. The promise of mobile 5G is seemingly endless and we’re moving fast to make that promise a reality. In addition to plans for offering mobile 5G to consumers this year, AT&T expect to trial 5G technology with businesses of all sizes across industries to help them to transform business operations and create more engaging experiences for their customers.
Verizon announced end of last year that it would launch on fixed 5G services in 3-5 cities, sometime in the second half of 2018. Now, the carrier’s deployment plans are getting slightly clearer. Specifically, Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam announced that Verizon’s mobile 5G service will launch roughly six months after the carrier turns on its fixed 5G service. Those comments are notable because Verizon hasn’t offered too much detail about how it might roll out mobile 5G in 2018.
T-Mobile plans to build out 5G in 30 cities this year, and customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Las Vegas will be first to experience it, when the first 5G smartphones launch early next year. T-Mobile is in a unique position with 5G, with its unpopulated spectrum holdings and multi-spectrum strategy. While other wireless companies must kick customers off their congested LTE networks to build out 5G, the Un-carrier is building 5G on wide-open airwaves. Plus, T-Mobile is the only US wireless operator to announce plans for standards-based 5G across multiple spectrum bands.
Docomo’s countdown to 5G launching has begun, with a plan to roll out the technology within 800 days as per Lan Chen, president and CEO of Docomo Beijing Labs. The first phase will include building a non-standalone 5G system based on trials that have already started in 2017, she said, adding that spectrum will be allocated by end of March 2019. Docomo is striving to commercialize 5G services in 2020, just in time for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
South Korean telecom operator KT Corp. has confirmed their plans to launch its commercial 5G network by March 2019, Korean press reported. Oh Seong-mok, president of KT’s network business division, said that the firm’s 5G commercial offering will provide nationwide coverage. KT will use 28 GHz spectrum for urban hot spots and 3.5 GHz band for urban and rural areas.
China Mobile Confirms Aggressive 5G Standalone Plan and plans 5G launch in 2019, it will offer a full 5G service by the end of 2019 – one year earlier than the 2020 date that many agreed would witness the arrival of the first next generation commercial networks. The accelerated date is set to be made possible via ‘Slicing Packet Network’ (PSN), which will help operators manage network architecture, bandwidth, traffic, latency and time synchronization.
SoftBank said it is planning various experiments to study 5G technologies and aims to launch 5G commercial services around 2020. SoftBank has recently inked a partnership with Huawei to demonstrate potential 5G use cases for its enterprise partners. SoftBank has been also working with Ericsson in the execution of 5G trials in Japan.
Japan is expected to be an early adopter in the 5G segment as local telecom operators are looking to start deploying the new technology around 2020. KDDI has been also engaged with 5G trials, mainly with Ericsson and Samsung Electronics. Yoshiaki Uchida, senior managing executive officer at KDDI, said the technology breakthrough would elevate rail to a whole new dimension and showed that 5G commercialization was near. “To fulfill our aim to launch 5G by 2020, KDDI will continue exploring real-life scenario experiments for diverse 5G use and business cases together with Samsung,” said Uchida.
So what does this all mean?
One of the challenges for the initial 5G deployments will be handset availability. The first mobile devices supporting 5G technology are expected to be commercially available by the end of this year or the first half of 2019.