Getting 5G networks rolled out has been a big focus for many US carriers lately, with no shortage of manpower and cash going to the cause. In the States, Verizon's 5G testing has long since blown through the gigabit barrier, and everybody is beginning to implement and test a range of technologies on both high and low spectrum bands, with Sprint even going for a unique small-cell approach. Ericsson, a key partner and vendor in the upcoming 5G revolution, has been at the forefront as it all begins. Even so, their CEO, Hans Vestberg, expressed a bit of surprise at just how quickly it's all been happening.
Recently Vestberg spoke about initial preparations and the early stages of the rollout, saying that carriers seem to be doing just about all that they can do at this point to ensure a fast and smooth 5G rollout. According to him, we may see commercial 5G networks in some spots as soon as 2018, though a pre-commercial rollout for testing is more likely. He went on to say that the 5G rollout will pivot on a lot more than simple network reconfiguration; just about everything in most networks will need to be redone from the ground up, or new hardware and technologies will need to be added. The process is sure to be expensive and time-consuming, but with carriers in the United States and abroad going about things the way they are, initial projections pegging the technology as hitting the streets around 2020 are starting to look dated.
Vestberg said that new software is going to be the name of the game with the 5G rollout; new hardware will be required, but the focus will be on optimization in regards to network densification efforts, since 5G networks will likely require less money, hardware, and time than rollouts of previous technologies. According to Vestberg, carriers working on 5G networks will be able to handle the load quite nicely, and consumers will see data speed tens of times faster, taking up a fraction of the battery life of standards like 3G and the battery-hungry industry standard, LTE. As well as the United States, he named Korea and Japan as places where 5G technologies were being explored with some gusto.