5G – the engine of the new economy

The mobile revolution has a date: 2020. With the introduction of the fifth generation of standards for mobile telephony, projects that have up until now been classed as utopias and other whimsical ideas are now becoming reality: intelligent cities, augmented reality, connected cars, ultra-connected apartments, and more.

The new 5G technology is coming and promises to open the door to real new possibilities like surgical practices, safer modes of transport and on the lighter side, almost instantaneous film downloads. In the global economy, 5G will take a huge leap forward both in the sale of goods and services and in the way companies communicate with their customers.

But what is 5G exactly?

Like all new generations of mobile network technology, 5G will offer your phone an ever faster connection. Industry experts report between 10 to 20 times faster than 4G.

One of the fundamental differences is that 4G uses frequencies below 6 GHz while 5G technology will probably operate in the range of 30 GHz to 300 GHz. So basically the higher the frequency the network operates at, the better the signal will be. This will enable the 5G to offer a much better service quality than what the 4G technology currently offers.

As far as download speeds, the 5G will have a maximum speed of 20 GB/sec while the 4G currently reaches only 1 GB/sec. So the time it takes 4G to download a single data file (like a full movie for example) will allow 5G to download the same movie up to 20 times.

Improved network accessibility

This new increased capacity will make the mobile service and accessibility more reliable and allow many more devices and gadgets to connect to the network simultaneously – without any fear of a dropping the signal.

The 5G technology will probably be deployed on many more devices and not be limited to  smartphones:  watches, glasses, heating systems, kitchen appliances, cars, drones, robots and other new smart tools will connect to 5G by default – an estimated 21 billion gadgets will be connected by 2020. Current 4G networks do simply not have the bandwidth to transmit such large amounts of data…

Instant and continuous connection between the devices

The 5G network will also reduce the latency time between devices and servers – they communicate with almost zero delay. In the case of autonomous cars, for example, this means uninterrupted communication between a car and other vehicles, data centers and external sensors.

By operating on very high frequencies, 5G is able to offer more bandwidth and higher download speeds. However, there is a considerable downside: the waves are fast and the signal is very powerful. These high frequency waves do not easily pass through walls, windows or roofs and therefore the signal drops over long distances.

As a result, operators such as Swisscom, Sunrise and Salt will probably have to install thousands of miniature cellular towers on each street lamp, on the side of buildings, inside each house and even in each room of the apartment.

Overall as it looks, the 5G technology will rather complement the 4G instead of replacing it completely.

What are the changes for local businesses?

For Swiss companies, the arrival of 5G will offer good growth prospects, but also new challenges that are not yet well known. As consumption patterns will certainly change with this incredible speed of gigabits, companies will also have to adapt their offers and activities on the web.

Amongst some of the changes, new products will have to be adapted to the IOT (Internet of Things), video communication channels will increase even more, new 3D virtual stores and digital communications using AR (Realty Augmented) will appear.

All these innovative technologies will act as a fabulous global economic engine for those who are ready. Today’s entrepreneurs and R&D departments have to fasten their seatbelts so they don’t miss the onramp to this new exciting 5G highway.