It seems like only 5 minutes ago we were all getting excited about the prospect of 4G and what it meant for mobile usage across the UK: improved mobile web access, video conferencing, high-definition mobile TV and more.
The development of 5G, however looks set to revolutionise the telecommunications industry once again, and transform the way you use your business mobile phone. Flexibility, user experience and efficiency have all been declared as the new standard for 5G, so the team at Swift Communications have spent some time researching what it actually means for our customers.
What is 5G, and what does it mean for business mobile?
Development is in its early stages, however in December 2014, the GSMA (Groupe Spécial Mobile Association) defined eight requirements for 5G, with network connections needing to meet the majority in order to be qualified as a 5G provider:
- 1-10Gbps connections to end points in the field
- 1 millisecond end-to-end round trip delay (latency)
- 1000x bandwidth per unit area
- 10-100x number of connected devices
- The perception of 99.999% availability
- The perception of 100% coverage
- Reduction of 90% for network energy usage
- A battery life of up to 10 years for low power, machine-type devices
So what does this actually mean for business mobile users?
In short, it means vast improvements in speed – you’ll be able to download business documents much faster than ever before on a mobile device.
You’ll also see improved response times and reduced latency– giving you the perception of limitless bandwidth and continuous availability, whether you’re commuting, working out of the office or in an area with previously poor coverage.
It’ll be easier than ever to communicate – the bandwidth of 5G enables the billions of mobile devices across the world to communicate with each other – meaning less calls cutting out, emails getting stuck in draft folders due to lack of signal and even the chance for multi-person video conferencing on mobile.
Energy efficiency will also be better – we all know how quickly batteries get zapped after a day of meetings. To make use of all the benefits of 5G, there will need to be improvement to energy usage, also enabling 5G to become a more cost effective option for business mobile customers.
Are there any challenges?
It’s suggested that by 2020 there’ll be up to 100 billion internet connected devices worldwide, as we all become engrained in the Internet of Things. Home and office heating, lighting and even fridges could all become dependent on the internet in the future.
This means that spectrum availability, at high frequencies, is of vital importance to ensure data speeds for all of these devices. 3G and 4G radio frequencies are already congested, and so changes and developments are needed in order for 5G services to work globally. It would be extremely frustrating to be on a sales trip abroad and your business mobile phone not to connect properly to your office!
With 5G technologies still needing development, the costs associated with bringing it to market are uncertain. It’s a known fact, however, that potential users would be put off by sky-high prices for handsets and services, and so there is a need to ensure 5G is accessible as much as possible. As your reliable and efficient telecoms provider, Swift Communications will, once the technology is available, scan the market to get you and your company the best business mobile deals available should you be interested.
What are the opportunities?
The Internet of Things is one of the major opportunities in 5G. IoT is the term for describing applications where devices communicate with each other or with a server (such as the suite of products by Nest Labs that can do anything from optimize heating and cooling of homes and businesses through a self learning, Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors).
Whilst much of the focus of 5G has been on the connected home, here at Swift Communications we foresee advantages across your business too. From smart mobility, protecting you when you’re on the road, to security and surveillance monitoring at your site and from multi-person video conferencing on mobile, to the improvements mentioned previously to business mobile usage wherever you are, 5G could revolutionise the way businesses connect and grow.
The development of 5G also has the chance to transform the medical world – imagine a specialist surgeon completing a procedure on a patient on the other side of the world using a remote controlled robot.
Which operators are onboard?
As with every major technological development, almost every network, device manufacturer and telecoms retailer across the world is keen to be seen as leading the charge when it comes to 5G.
As consumers become more demanding – needing faster and more robust telecommunications access in order to connect with clients, colleagues and family, the need for 5G has grown.
The need for a decent ROI means that focus will shift to improving business services, from your business mobile phone to your broadband package, which Swift Communications will ensure you can benefit from once 5G becomes comes to market.
Most recently (August 2016), it’s been announced that BT and Nokia have joined forces on a research deal, which will see them work together on proof of concept trialing, development of standards for 5G services and customer user cases. BT has a particularly vested interest in the venture as it owns EE, which is currently one of the biggest 4G networks in the UK, and the company hopes to leverage some of its learnings from the developments in 4G capabilities in order to support 5G in future.
Whilst it looks likely that initial pilot testing will launch in 2018, commercial launch of 5G looks set to be in 2020 at the earliest.
Here at Swift Communications, we’re excited to see the advances that 5G connectivity can bring us, and our customers. It’ll be a few more years in the making, but 5G has the opportunity to revolutionise business. Whilst it’s still under development, make sure you’re getting the best business mobile deals by contacting us today.
(Sources – 5g.co.uk and gsma.com)