The fifth generation of mobile networks won't just allow for unprecedented technologies that seemed unfathomable just years ago but will do so while resolving many issues associated with 4G LTE, thus improving existing use cases of wireless communications.
That's the gist of a new expert report from industry watchers at Opensignal titled "The 5G Opportunity."
A tech revolution in every sense
After dropping the stylized "OpenSignal" moniker, Opensignal took to predicting the various ways wherein 5G will improve the lives of consumers and businesses around the world. Being largely based on high-frequency spectrum, the new telecom services will allow for significantly higher capacities, both in terms of simultaneous device support and bandwidth, consequently reducing the effects of network congestion, a problem the industry has been combating for ages, particularly so after competition forced certain wireless carriers to embrace truly unlimited plans.
Right now, consumers in 43-percent of all 4G-covered countries covered by Opensignal's newest research experienced network speed fluctuations of two times or more on a monthly basis throughout January. Following large-scale implementation of 5G, that percentage should become negligible and see the new tech triumph where the old one failed, as per the new report.
The app segment is also set for its first major "revolution" of sorts in ages. It's difficult to say what that change will actually entail but what's certain is that today's apps can't move anywhere they haven't already been to without significantly better wireless performance.
Sustaining new innovations is precisely what 5G is all about, being the first wireless upgrade that has actually been built with use cases in mind. Remote surgeries, driverless vehicles, and truly intelligent cities are just some of those ambitions, and while the industry's goals aren't as well-defined in the mobile space, the predominant expectation is that Android and iOS apps will go through a renaissance once developers embrace 5G technologies.
New apps and technologies will lead to new businesses, the successful ones whereof will spawn jobs, hence boosting economic growth, according to the current consensus. How soon that revolution ends up happening remains to be seen but by most accounts, neither consumers nor businesses should be holding any horses until 2022 at the earliest.
That isn't to say select countries won't already be fully on board of the 5G bandwagon as early as next year but by the time consumers actually agree to buy devices capable of leveraging the new networks (i.e. they become cheap enough) en masse and developers move to support the growing market with new apps, some Android users will probably be running a T-branded variant of Google's operating system.
Why speed isn't speed
In terms of theoretical performance peaks, 5G is bound to eventually enable much faster downlink and uplink rates and should be the tech generation that finally allows the average consumer to surpass gigabit speeds. However, the new networks themselves won't exactly transmit data at a higher rate as much as they'll be able to approach communications in a more intelligent and surgical manner.
The distinction that's still being overlooked by the majority of the media is that edge computing will be front and center of the 5G era and virtually every connection will end with a last-mile delivery handled by a small cell station. In other words, 5G connectivity won't necessarily transmit information faster but will be doing so over shorter distances, with end-users hence perceiving a massive speed improvement even if the jump is only gradual.
5G will once again be the talk of the tech world in the coming days as the new mobile service generation is set to be the highlight of this year's Mobile World Congress running Monday through Thursday in Barcelona, Spain.