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Here’s what to expect from the 5G mobile network

Remember when 4G first came along? Early adopters were clamouring for the super fast speeds it offered. We went from Facebook on our phones to, well… watching videos through Facebook on our phones. We’re now only few years from the next generation in cellular technology, so here’s what to expect from the telecommunications of the near future.

5G and the GSMA explained

The GSM Association is a trade body that represents over 800 mobile providers worldwide. The GSMA’s job is to ensure that there are common standards for how phones talk to providers, and how providers talk to each other. Working backwards, the standards we have seen for mobile communication are:

  • 4G / LTE (Long Term Evolution)
  • 3G
  • 2G / GPRS (General Packet Radio System)
  • 1G / GSM
  • Massive bandwidth; over 50 times what you currently get on 4G. To put that in perspective, a high def episode of Game of Thrones could be downloaded in a matter of seconds!
  • And all this with lower power usage, so your phone will last longer.

As one of fastest adopters of mobile technology, Australia, USA, Europe and New Zealand will be among the first countries to start deploying 5G networks around the country. 5G technology will be adopted first in major cities.

What does 5G mean for you?

When 5G hits our shores, it’s going to revolutionise our mobile data experience. That’s not because 5G radically changes how mobile data works, but rather the leap in sheer data speeds alone is potentially out of this world. Let’s look at some of the concrete benefits of 5G:

That’s a quick overview of how 5G changes our everyday smartphone experience, but 5G will also impact future technologies in new and innovative ways.

Driverless cars

While the technology for driverless cars has been on the razor’s edge of mass deployment for a while now, there remains a barrier for entry in the mass market: reliable data transfer.

Without high speed data access, driverless car networks might not be safe enough to navigate the busy urban environments that much of the world’s population lives in. With higher data transfer rates, 5G could power cloud-assisted processing, so driverless cars could ‘learn’ faster from each other, and give providers access to unprecedented levels of data.

Internet of Things

Billions of connected devices need a lot of bandwidth. While wireless access points through the internet can potentially provide a solution, they all ultimately require cabling back to the switch. 5G cellular frequency, with its power sipping low energy consumption, could become a valuable technology for connecting up the sensor devices that with help automate our homes, utilities and workplaces over the coming decade.

A richer experience

Mobile is a big driver of our internet experience. Over the past few years websites have become either ‘mobile friendly’ or ‘mobile first’, and apps represent a multibillion dollar market.

With the deployment of 5G, mobile will continue to drive richer experiences through the web. Pages themselves will become more intuitive, faster and easier to use. Apps will drive functionality beyond the digital world, becoming hubs for smart devices and connected technologies around the home and office, while augmented realities will springboard off the faster data rates.

Soft, green and fast

5G is betting on more than just being a quantum shift in data transfer rates. The new telecommunications standards are also targeting lower power consumption. With battery technology seemingly stalled, less power to download more is something that consumers and the environment will love.

5G also aims to be more friendly to low powered devices, like the simple computer chips in sensors and other devices that will make up our personal ‘smart networks’. Many of these devices will need to function on small batteries, solar power, or low amperage power sources. Low overheads for data transmission will be almost a necessity if we hope to take full advantage of the technology.

Personalisation through the cloud

With faster, greener data comes the option for unprecedented personalisation through cloud-assisted data analytics. Our connected devices will learn more about us, faster, and be more tailored to delivering exactly what we want in better, smarter ways.

The path to upgrade

5G will need a handset that specifically takes advantage of the technology. So if you do have a planned upgrade path and are keen to be among the first to get on the 5G handset that supports 5G network.

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