We are nearing the rollout of 5G networks. This grand project promises many amazing benefits for users around the world. However, as with any new technology, the vision may not always be realized. Every innovation will face challenges, some of them unexpected and some of them anticipated. What is the current state of 5G development and implementation? Let’s take a look at the landscape and see what it looks like.
5G is a huge leap in technological capabilities, it’s not secret. That’s the hope anyway. There’s a lot of activity in the telecom industry to make these expectations a reality. Imagine all the possibilities for wireless communications that are so innovative.
Internet of Things (IoT).
Fixed Wireless at Work or Home
Machine-To-Machine Interaction (M2M).
Telemedicine for Health
You can also download movies to your smartphone in seconds.
5G is expected 10 times faster than 4G. This was demonstrated by a Verge reporter during a test of Verizon’s Chicago deployment. These targets are laid out in the document “IMT Vision – Framework and overall objectives for the future development IMT for 2020” from the International Telecommunication Union.
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Start trainingThese ambitious goals have generated a lot of excitement in the telecom industry. Verizon is a leader in rollouts and carriers are ramping up. However, the harsh realities of a changing marketplace and fickle market can often ruin the dreams and hopes of network professionals. The bank account is often the first complaint.
The Cost of 5G
The price consumers pay will have a direct impact on the amount of money providers need to provide services. In the case of 5G wireless we are talking about a lot.
McKinsey and Company identified four areas of 5G development. They are 1) enhanced mobile broadband; 2) Internet of Things, 3) mission-critical control, and 4) fixed wireless connectivity. They also expressed concern: “But the economics, business model and ability to monetize this use case at scale in the near-term to justify a nationwide rollout in any country today remain ambiguous.”
There are two types of 5G that carriers can implement. It’s all about bandwidth. McKinsey’s “low-to-mid-band 5G network” refers to anything below 6 GHz. This could be a more cost-effective 4G infrastructure. However, “high-band spectrum”, which is above 6 GHz, requires a denser network. This means that there are many cell towers in a small area.
You can see what is happening in Montgomery County, Maryland. According to an online report, there are 61 towers located less than 30 feet from the homes of North Potomac residents. Imagine the cost to carriers for all these towers, in addition to the health risk some residents may claim. According to the FCC, 5G will require 20,000 tower technicians in order to install all those towers. 5G implementation will be costly just because of the tower investment.
Vendors and 5G carriers will work together to reduce consumer perceptions about costs. Cell phone users are used to paying a monthly fee to get expensive devices. If they purchase a payment plan, early 5G users may not feel the full cost of the $1300 Samsung Galaxy S10-5G from Verizon. Verizon’s $55 for 5G service may seem reasonable at the moment.
The industry will have to recoup its investment. If you have ever been frustrated by the cost of your 4G wireless broadband data plan, don’t lose heart. How will the market react?