AT&T, Verizon Investing Heavily in 'Roadmap to 5G'
The one pointed statement that stuck out to me from this year's Consumer Electronics Show during Samsung's keynote. The seemingly throw-away comment on 5G has turned into a mantra for me.
"2G put telephones in our pocket, 3G/4G put the internet in our pocket, 5G will put the world in our pocket."
Last year was a lot of hurry-up-and-wait as big telecom companies began to roll-out the very basic concepts of a 5G network. And because technology ages in dog-years America is currently undergoing the first phases to bring the concept to life.
On that same note, it appears that AT&T and Verizon are gearing up to piece-meal limited 5G networks this year, much like Verizon's 2010 roll-out of 4G. AT&T is reported to begin selling portable hotspots that would bring "mobile 5G" to 12 select cities. On the other hand, T-Mobile has claimed that AT&T "no tangible path" to 5G, dismissing Verizon as well, marking their own plans to launch a full network by 2020.
Bickering aside, it's clear everyone wants to have a 5G network in the next few years.
The main proponent of these changes is speed, and that can be interpreted in a few different ways. Firstly, 5G proposes a theoretical speed of up to 10-gigabit per second, while 4G claims a top speed of 300-megabit per second. On that same token, 4G averages about 40- to 50-megabits per second, so its likely that 5G will have the same sort of limitations. But a 5G revolution will help streaming services solidify 4K content, as that is recommended to stream at roughly 25-megabits per second. It could be so fast that downloading would simply be the better option because of how fast the data would transfer.
Secondly, the 5G spectrum will allow a much wider spectrum of devices to be connected. Every manufacturer is building connected products with the foundation that their low-powered, low-bandwidth IoT devices will live permanently on the 5G network. That means security cameras, self-driving cars, drones, smartwatches, and even cities could be accessible from anywhere in the world thanks to the massive 5G bandwidth.
Yes, globally. The plan right now could be to bring 5G to a global scale thanks to huge investments from Europe. Deutsche Telekom is one such company also investing in the roadmap to 5G, stress-testing the network across an 8,000- hectare area near the Port of Hamburg.
So while the 'roadmap to 5G' is starting to unfold, T-Mobile does bring a few interesting points. Their claims that companies will do anything to say they have the "first 5G network" are probably right. There will be a lot of miscommunication about 5G until we actually have full nationwide penetration, which should enter its first phases by 2020.