The decade of 2020 will be that of the fifth generation (5G) in mobile networks.
Industry experts say that 5G technology will communicate many of the inventions that today seem futuristic, such as the internet of things, driverless cars and smart buildings and houses.
They will be new fields in the technology industry that connects to the internet, which will generate a multi-billion dollar economy, as well as millions of jobs.
“The 5G networks will support many of the technological innovations that will define the world in the next decade,” says strategic analysis firm Stratfor.
“This includes the internet of things, autonomous robots for agriculture and industry, smart grid and autonomous vehicles and drones,” he says in an article published on the Forbes site.
Although this technology is intended to be used in the next decade, its implementation is still in development among several powers.
It is a race that China and the United States are fighting side by side, with other competitors such as South Korea, Germany and the United Kingdom in the dispute.
And to achieve the goal, network operators such as T-Mobile and Sprint, two of the largest telephone companies in the US, are working on agreements to achieve this goal.
These two companies announced last Sunday their intention to merge, with one of their objectives in the development of the 5G network, as indicated by the director of T-Mobile, John Legere.
What is 5G technology?
The fifth generation of cellular networks will not only offer a faster internet to the users of mobile networks but will have a connectivity capacity never before seen.
Its applications range from surgeries with remote robots to immersion in the Internet of Things (IoT), that is, the digital interconnection of everyday objects.
Some applications of the IoT are in clothes that connect to the internet, cars without driver talking to each other to avoid accidents, smart trash cans that notify us when they are full,
For all that a wider connection is required, and the 5G network has a capacity of 1 gigabit per second.
The 4G connection currently available in large cities around the world is up to 100 times slower, so it does not support that connectivity demand, as it was not designed to do so.
China in the lead
Despite the announcement of T-Mobile and Sprint, China is the country that leads the race for 5G.
This is indicated by CTIA, an analysis consultancy for the wireless telecommunications industry based in the United States.
In its report “The Global Race to the 5G”, published last week, CTIA analyzed the progress of 10 countries in the development of infrastructure and the necessary policy to win this “race”.
“China, South Korea, and the United States are currently leading the race towards 5G, with China ahead for a marginal advantage,” says CTIA.
Beijing has taken the necessary measures to launch the 5G network by 2020, with the release of the necessary band spectrum, according to the analysis.
In addition, the providers of this service are “very committed to the timeline” that was raised to achieve the goal.
China Mobile, which has 900 million customers, plans to launch its 5G network this year on a massive scale in the big cities of China.
Winning this race strengthens a large pool of jobs.
That was already seen when 4G technology was implemented, a “race” that the United States won: 4.7 million jobs were generated in the North American country, which had investments of US $ 475,000 million, according to CTIA.
This is because the wireless network operators and the technology firms around them invest billions of dollars and generate large sources of employment.
In addition, the work of thousands of people is required to install the necessary infrastructure.
CTIA estimates that the implementation of the fifth generation network would attract an initial investment of US $ 275,000 million and could generate up to three million jobs.
Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Canada, Russia, and Singapore are among the 10 countries that CTIA sees as nations where the 5G network will be implemented more rapidly.
What is missing from the USA?
Although the largest telephone companies in the US will begin to test with 5G networks in some parts of the country at the end of 2018, the country still has work to do.
The broadband spectrum needed to implement the network, a government task that China has already completed, will be put out to tender in next November.
“The federal government needs to move forward by releasing hundreds of MHz of new spectrum, and each level of government must act to modernize the infrastructure rules,” says CTIA.
“It is necessary to quickly implement pending additional reforms focused on local modernization to help accelerate deployment,” the report adds.
In terms of infrastructure, this technology requires the installation of small antennas, the size of a pizza box, but they are expensive.
“At present, it takes a long time and it is very difficult to implement a modern wireless infrastructure, with small cells that can be installed in one or two hours, but that requires a year or more to receive government approval,” the report explains.
Facilitating approvals are tasks of federal and local legislatures.
As for operators, analysts see that unions of operators such as T-Mobile and Sprint will help accelerate the implementation of their 5G network.
We will not see it so soon
Although the start of operations of 5G networks may be lagging behind, the technology for which it is designed is even more so, analysts say.
The driverless car industry, for example, has not yet matured enough to operate with 5G networks in the near future, says technology expert Raymond Zhong in an article in The New York Times.
“Operators in the United States and China may be competing to build infrastructure faster than the technology is developing that would make the best use of it,” he says.
For his part, Matthew Howett, founder of the research firm Assembly, points out that the majority of cell phone customers in the world will not see the benefits of the 5G network soon.
“Everyone is getting a little ahead,” says Howett to the BBC, because “the industry has not yet reached an agreement on how it will be different from 4G.”
” My point of view is that it is very far away, everything that is being bought is essentially the radio waves that are around us and have existed since the Big Bang,” says the expert.
However, this is a race that has already started and that the faster it is completed, the faster it will reach users as seen with the 4G network that is still in the process of being installed in the world.
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