Understanding 5G – Market Reality, Alternatives and Hype

//Understanding 5G – Market Reality, Alternatives and Hype

The next generation of mobile technology differs significantly from previous mobile standards. Rather than being designed to solve a specific problem, the 5G will have the ability to handle a broad range of use cases.

These use cases will benefit, and in some cases, be limited by the wide spectrum range in which 5G can operate. This is another way in which 5G is different from older mobile standards: it will work both above and below the 6GHz band.

What does 5G mean to previous generations? The fate of 2G and 3G really has little to do with 5G. 2G and 3G investments are more related to the state of LTE. Carrier decisions should be driven by existing customer base considerations, device costs, M2M and 2G subscribers, and the mix of voice and data traffic.

Attention with the hype around 5G

Internet of Things (IoT) is being positioned as the leading 5G application, but IoT’s business models still need a lot of work to prove themselves to be sustainable and then justify 5G investments.

MmWave have real limitations: they are not good for coverage and more susceptible to interference than the spectrum bands used today in mobile networks. Limited coverage hinders use for IoT and enhanced mobile broadband outside very limited areas.

The initial mmWave networks will use 5G as a network download to 4G. At first, the first 5G networks will be built for capacity, not for coverage. The first 5G networks will require small cells, which are still challenging and costly to deploy.

With NB-IoT and LTE-Advanced Pro that drive LTE performance for IoT and mobile broadband applications at 1Gbps, respectively, the need for 5G in lower spectrum bands (sub-3.5GHz) will be limited.

But where will 5G bring benefits?

  • It will provide mobile operators with access to broader spectrum
  • It may become an air interface for all spectrum bands
  • The core network with digital transformation will open the mobile network for more applications
By |2017-09-19T00:24:20+00:00September 19th, 2017|Tips & Tactics|3 Comments


  1. Caleb Momanyi September 19, 2017 at 11:02 pm - Reply

    5G hype will definitely take the world by storm. The most interested group being users of mobile data across the world. With proliferation of mobile gadgets supporting the 5G technology, Telecommunications service providers have to realign themselves in anticipation for the high demands in education and technology.

    With the limitations cited above, we expect a solution and inputs from areas like digital India and smart city in order to have a smooth transition. Technology is dynamic and we expect further developments after 5G is implemented. For this reason, skill development in technology should also be dynamic and the education sector should also factor in the dynamism as future of education.

  2. Ogeto Omwancha D. September 20, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Operators have a ceaseless need for more capacity in this age of smart phones, tablets and the Internet of Things occasioned by the explosive growth in digital technology in general. The fifth generation of cellular technology is a solution looking for a problem, if you ask Saar Gillai startup advisor, angel investor and a Mobile World Congress veteran. Gillai, who led various areas of networking and cloud solutions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co., sees a bit of hype and a bit of reality in 5G technology but feels the industry must first think about the problems it is trying to solve with the emerging network standard. Most of the frequencies used for wireless communications today are sub-5-gigahertz, which have better range but less capacity. There are also a limited number of signals to commercialize. While the Internet of Things is the hot topic behind 5G potential, it is most likely that networks will not be able to handle its multi-billion endpoint capacity until the end of the decade. Certainly, the next decade will bring us as many new discoveries in the strategies for digital transformation. And with it, we’ll see a lot of consolidation, (horizontal and vertical) and likely even mergers between OEM’s and Cloud computing providers. And most certainly, yes, there will be a 6th G, and in a fully virtualized macro network stack, it may just come a lot quicker than any G before it.

  3. Jonney October 10, 2017 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    More recently, the transition from 3.5G to 4G services has offered users access to considerably faster data speeds and lower latency rates, and therefore the way that people access and use the internet on mobile devices continues to change dramatically. Across the world operators are typically reporting that 4G customers consume around double the monthly amount of data of non-4G users, and in some cases three times as much. An increased level of video streaming by customers on 4G networks is often cited by operators as a major contributing factor to this. The Internet of Things (IoT) has also been discussed as a key differentiator for 4G, but in reality the challenge of providing low power, low frequency networks to meet the demand for widespread M2M deployment is not specific to 4G or indeed 5G. As Table 1 suggests, it is currently unclear what the opportunity or ‘weakness’ that 5G should address is.

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