5G is finally here !
5G will arrive officially in the UK on the 30th May with the mobile network EE.
They are officially launching 5G in London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham with other cities added throughout 2019 to increase the overall 5G coverage.
What is 5G?
5G is the fifth-generation of mobile internet connectivity, following on from 2G, 3G and you’ve guessed it – 4G. This change will affect mobile phones, tablets and laptops which use a data connection via a sim card.
It promises faster data download and upload speeds, better mobile internet coverage and more reliable internet connections when using your mobile phone.
Whatever you currently do on your smartphone, you’ll be able to do it faster and easier, whether it’s mobile gaming, watching mobile videos (Youtube etc.) or video calls which will clearer and reliable. Fitness trackers will now also be able to monitor your health in real-time (the fitness tracker will however require the necessary technology to allow it to do this).
The change in technology will also allow for new internet-related services and innovations, including the development in autonomous vehicles to communicate with each other, reading live map information and traffic data.
Why do we need it?
Mobile devices are increasingly being used as our main interaction online, whether it’s visiting a website, updating our social media or streaming that album from Spotify; We’re consuming more and more data year on year as more media is made available.
For example in 2006 Amazon Video was introduced, followed shortly by Netflix in 2007, these types of instant online services have increased in popularity year on year, with thousands of streaming apps, data-hungry games and online music-services being used by millions every day.
This demand on the mobile internet network causes congestion, especially if lots of users in the same area are trying to access mobile services at the same time, the service becomes slower and depending on the devices being used can stop working altogether.
5G has better capability for handling thousands of devices at the same time, however real-time speeds will be dependent on each carrier. 5G is a brand new radio technology and as such will require new masts and transmitters and investment in said equipment will vary from each network carrier, with some pig-backing off other carriers to provide the 5G service.
How much faster is 5G?
The fastest current 4G mobile networks offer about 45Mbps (megabits per second) on average, 5G could achieve browsing and download speeds which are 10 to 20 times faster than this, based on 5G networks built alongside existing 4G LTE networks.
A standalone 5G network could achieve a much faster rate, however these will not arrive for a few years.
Will I need a new phone?
Yes you will need a new smartphone. Current smart phones do not have the necessary technology to use the 5G network.
However, as the 5G infrastructure hasn’t yet been rolled out fully, a 5G-enabled smartphone is not expected until later in 2019.
The new generation smartphones will be able to work seamlessly between 4G and 5G to offer a more reliable and quicker internet connection, even during busy usage periods.
Will this affect my fixed line services?
No, 5G will only affect mobile internet available on devices with a sim, this will include smart phones, tablet devices and some laptops.
Domestic and office broadband services will remain to be provided by a fixed line connection for many years to come yet, due to the stability and certainty of the physical infrastructure currently in place and are therefore not affected by this change.
Will it work in rural areas?
No, not in the immediate future.
5G operates on high-frequency radio bands suitable for more densely-populated areas; It is not as suitable over longer distances, where lower-frequency bands are better.
With this in mind and with the 5G roll-out, there will also be focus on improving 4G LTE coverage to ensure the majority of the UK’s mobile internet users get the best service that is available to them wherever they are.