We all know it is coming, but what we are not sure of, is when it will arrive or what form it will come in – We are talking about 5G, the next generation of mobile wireless speeds. The rewards are perfect for both the consumers that crave speed and the carriers that are licking their chops over the increase in data that customers will demand. Hopefully, the internet infrastructure will be ready to keep up with the anticipated demand – unlike 4G LTE that can sometimes struggle because of the volume of subscribers trying to use the system during peak hours.
This "need for speed" is exactly why the Big Three of Canada – Rogers, Bell, and Telus – are taking steps now to ensure the future success of 5G. Canada, notably Bell, has teamed up with Huawei to develop a standard and to ensure that Canada has the 5G infrastructure it needs to compete on a Global basis. Huawei made the popular Nexus 6P smartphone last year, but they are also the largest telecommunication equipment manufacturer in the world, and they would like nothing better than to lead the way in Canada. Less than two years ago, Huawei agreed to invest over $210 million over five years and create some 325 new jobs to go along with the 550 Huawei employees already in Canada. Huawei is working with Telus on the “5G Living Lab,” which will decide how best to approach implementing 5G in downtown Vancouver.
Mark Langton, a spokesperson for Bell Canada parent, Montreal-based BCE Inc. said, “Bell [has] built a reputation for broadband network leadership and we plan to be out front on 5G too. We’ll begin 5G trials shortly and are involved in writing the 5G specs as a member of the Next Generation Mobile Networks consortium.” While 5G is still in the conceptual phase, the telecom giants have a new impetus to act as Huawei is stepping up to help accelerate the process to help boost economic growth. Rogers, though working on 5G, has stated that it is still years away and said that, “we don’t have any details to share on future plans.”
The future of 5G looks very tempting with connection speeds up to 40 times quicker than 4G – and the ability to prioritization signals. For instance, the system would know that a self-driving car warning is more important than a video game download. Experts claim it will all but eliminate latency or connectivity gaps allowing a seamless transition between Wi-Fi and cellular and no more video buffering or delays in Skyping. It would help handle a large number devices and smart objects in the Internet of Things (IoT), as well as usher in ultra HD video on smartphones and help innovate new healthcare, entertainment, and transportation ideas.
With all of this good comes some bad news - even though the efficiency of 5G will cost the suppliers less money to supply data, the ability to download so much data so fast - allowing a 3D video to download in six seconds rather than 6 minutes on 4G – the data usage is sure to jump. Netflix puts it all in perspective – streaming a standard video viewed on a smartphone uses up to 0.7GB per hour, HD video is 3GB, 3D videos 4.7GB and a 4K video can use up to 7GB per hour. Many people do not have more than 3GB for the entire month and carriers are betting we will want to purchase more data once 5G arrives.