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The Brave New World of 5G

14th October 2019

The next generation of mobile internet is here – 5G – with the promise of faster speeds and more robust mobile connectivity than ever before. 

5G or ‘fifth generation’ network connectivity is 40 times more responsive, 10 times faster and 20% more power efficient than previous generations, bringing with it a whole new concept for connectivity with the potential to dramatically change the way we live and work.

The 3G and 4G networks focused on connectivity via personal devices, whereas 5G will create a technological shift by integrating with buildings, appliances, vehicles and products, contributing to growth in the internet of things category of connectivity. Thus, delivering unprecedented benefits for citizens across transport, healthcare, energy, commerce and leisure.

The Internet of Things is Here

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of taking everyday objects and connecting them to the internet. Think connected security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial buildings, alarm clocks, vending machines, speakers and more. All an object needs to allow you to control it is a stable internet connection to allow the sending and receiving of data, something 5G promises to provide.

For businesses, 5G offers benefits big and small by encouraging the analysis of processes and systems and their challenges and constraints and thinking about how 5G can provide a beneficial solution.

The Economic Impact of 5G

The impact on the economy can’t be understated. In the UK alone, O2 predicts that national 5G infrastructure will directly contribute an additional £7 billion a year to the economy by year six, with studies estimating that internet-connected things will outnumber humans 4-to-1 by as soon as 2020, creating new dynamics for marketing, sales and customer service. And for the first time, 5G will outperform office-based Wi-Fi, making a truly mobile workforce a reality.

Where is 5G available?

5G isn’t widely available just yet. EE was the first UK carrier to launch its 5G network, switching it on in six cities in May this year and it has promised to bring 5G to 10 further cities by the end of the year.

Vodafone followed shortly after, initially launching in seven cities before rolling out to a further eight in July.

O2 is the only major UK network not to be able to offer 5G service yet, but they are getting ready to launch this month and will be the only network to do so without using equipment from controversial Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

O2’s initial focus is on providing 5G to locations where capacity is overstretched, like train stations, entertainment and sports venues – and popular retail destinations such as Edinburgh’s Princes Street.

After the launch, O2 has plans to spread its 5G network to 20 cities by the end of 2019.


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