The first 5G networks are expected to go live in Japan, South Korea and the US by the end of the year. However, it will take a few more years for the new mobile network standard to reach the mass market. GSMA Intelligence estimates 1.2 billion 5G users by 2025, which corresponds to just 14 percent of all mobile users. Nevertheless, people have high expectations for this new mobile era coming with the new standard – here are the four biggest changes at a glance.
1. Long Live the Smartphone Battery
The battery performance of smartphones and other devices is still one of the biggest weaknesses in the entire mobile system. Larger battery innovations are not yet in sight and even the smartphone with the current best battery life only provides 28 hours of usage time. Under normal usage, most smartphones barely last more than half a day without needing to be charged.
With the introduction of 5G, network control and data transmission are changing, which, in turn, will have a positive effect on battery life. Unlike 4G, which seemingly runs around the clock in transmission mode, 5G continues in sleep mode until data transfer begins. This way, connected devices do not communicate continuously with the mobile network, energy consumption is reduced and the battery is spared.
2. Video and Virtual Reality Anytime, Anywhere
5G will deliver up to ten times faster download and upload speeds compared to 4G. This will give the user experience a strong boost in the areas of Video and Virtual Reality. Qi Lu, COO of China’s leading search engine Baidu, predicts that the introduction of 5G will cause much of the information available on the internet to be replaced by videos.
In this way, the commercial use of Augmented and Virtual Reality applications will become a normal part of our everyday life. Instead of selecting the next holiday destination via a travel website, users will be able to use VR to obtain a virtual experience of hotels and holiday resorts on-site. All this is technically possible today, but with the introduction of 5G, the required bandwidth will then be extensively available and such applications will be integrated into our mobile user behavior as the new norm.
3. Connected Everything
The Korean electronics giant Samsung already sells half a billion connected devices associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). “We’re committed to accelerating IoT adoption for everyone and making all Samsung connected devices intelligent by 2020. These advancements will help consumers realize the benefits of a seamless and simple connected life,” says Hyunsuk Kim, President and Head of Samsung’s consumer electronics division and Samsung Research, recently describing the company’s goals.
Everything that can be connected will be connected – and 5G is one of the key enablers for this development. Whereas mobile internet was invented with the introduction of 3G around 20 years ago, 5G is now the mobile fiber optic cable for your pocket. Whether TVs, household appliances, smartphones or wearables – analysts expect there to be 75 billion connected IoT compatible devices by 2025.
4. Smart Infrastructure
In addition to the obvious improvements to the mobile customer experience, 5G will have a fundamental impact on our infrastructure. Autonomous driving, intelligently controlled traffic, smart hospitals and intelligent production – the application examples for which the introduction of 5G is a quantum leap seem to be endless. The idea of a self-controlling city that has occupied us for decades will become reality with 5G.
The effects of 5G can perhaps be described most plausibly by taking the example of the automotive industry. Autonomous, driverless cars generate enormous amounts of data in communication with traffic management systems and other traffic participants. To ensure traffic safety in a reliable manner, self-driving vehicles require network connections with consistent download and upload speeds – 5G is the first network standard that can offer such a feature.