1 August 2019

What Is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet connectivity and follows previous generations such as 3G and 4G.

Since mobile telecommunications began in the UK with the first mobile phone call in 1985 by Vodafone, mobile telephony has become universally adopted and the advent of smartphones has become a technology which many of us couldn’t live without.

With 4G only recently being rolled out a few years ago, what is 5G and what does it promise for consumers and businesses alike?

5G Key Points

  • icon-5gUp to 10 times faster than 4G.
    Whilst 4G averages speeds between 23 and 35 Mbps (with a maximum speed of 150 Mbps), 5G will deliver speeds of between 150 and 200 Mbps on average and up to a maximum of 1GBps. This should see a full HD movie downloading in 3 minutes versus 15 minutes over 4G. (Source: Vodafone UK)
  • icon-5g-1Greater Capacity
    The radio frequencies being used by 5G in the UK will unlock a huge amount of spectrum allowing 5G to carry vast amounts of data. This will translate into much fewer dropped calls in busy areas such as at a concert arena or sports stadium and has seen Vodafone introduce tariffs which will no longer limit a customer’s data usage through the launch of their ground breaking range of Business Unlimited tariffs.
  • icon-5g-2Lower Latency
    Latency relates to how quickly data is delivered over a network to your device. Whether this is how quickly a web page loads or the time it takes for an application to receive the data it needs to update or refresh, the lower the latency the less time lag there will be. The lower latency levels offered by 5G technology promises to be a real game changer and will allow new technologies to be developed in order to exploit the near real-time access to data.

It is said that 4G was the era of the Smartphone whereas 5G will be a catalyst for the fourth industrial revolution and become known as the era of Smart Technologies (i.e. the Internet of Things).

Where Is 5G Available in the UK?

Whilst 5G will eventually be rolled out nationwide, Vodafone has initially gone live with 5G in seven UK cities (Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol) with 12 more cities connected before the end of the year. These additional cities include Birkenhead, Blackpool, Bournemouth, Guildford, Newbury, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke on Trent, Warrington and Wolverhampton and positions Vodafone as the largest 5G network in the UK today.

5g-live-graph

It is important to note that whilst 5G will only be available in these cities initially, that Vodafone’s “Business Unlimited” tariffs will be available anywhere in the UK and all businesses with a "Business Unlimited" tariff will have access to unlimited data whether or not they are on 4G or 5G.

What Can 5G Do?

On top of much faster data speeds and higher capacity networks leading to less dropped calls, 5G will herald the adoption of many new technologies which up until now have been the preserve of sci-fi movies. Technology such as holographic calls 5G-Connect-Total and augmented/ mixed reality promise to become more mainstream and lower latency levels will allow activities such as multiplayer gaming on the go or access to business critical applications in the Cloud. The benefits brought by 5G will also allow technologies such as driverless cars, remote (and robotic) surgery, remote operation of heavy machinery and Smart Buildings to name but a few. It will also see the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things with almost universal connectivity for devices, buildings and people.

5G is a ground breaking innovation which is being viewed as a catalyst for the fourth industrial revolution. Already many people are looking ahead at how 5G will help them and their business, whereas in reality a lot of the benefits won’t be realised until innovative businesses gain access to 5G and see the opportunities which 5G can bring to their business. To find out how 5G can help your business succeed, please get in touch to speak to one of our experienced business advisers.

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