As the next generation of mobile standards is being finalized, commercial super fast 5G networks are expected to start deployment after 2020.
TheNewsGuru (TNG) reports this is according to the Setting the Scene for 5G: Opportunities & Challenges report presented at the ITU Telecom World 2018 at the International Conference Centre, Durban, South Africa.
According to the report, the GSM Association (GSMA) expects 5G connections to reach 1.1 billion, some 12 per cent of total mobile connections by 2025.
While 5G is expected to increase data rates dramatically and reduce latency compared to 3G and 4G, it is also expected to significantly reduce latency to below 1ms, suited to mission-critical services where data are time-sensitive.
Its high-speed capability means 5G networks can provide a range of high-speed broadband services and offer an alternative to last-mile access such as Fibre to the Home (FTTH) or copper connections.
“5G has the potential to be transformative for citizens, businesses, governments and economies,” noted Brahima Sanou, Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU.
TNG reports when deployed, 5G networks is expected to provide download speed up to 10gbit/s.
The high speeds and low latency promised by 5G will propel governments and policy-makers in transforming their cities into smart cities and into a new age of the Internet of Things (IoT).
This will allow citizens and communities to realize and participate in the socio-economic benefits delivered by an advanced, data-intensive, digital economy.
However, despite the potential benefits, there is concern that 5G is premature and notes of caution are being sounded.
Operators are sceptical about the commercial case of 5G netwroks given the high-levels of investment needed to deploy 5G networks, and concerned of device availability.
The report estimates the cost to deploy a small cell-ready 5G network – assuming fibre backhaul is commercially feasible – can range from USD 6.8 million for a small city to USD 55.5 million for a large, dense city.
“Manufacturers are currently developing technology that embeds 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G onto a single chip and is expected to become available from 2019, and after 2020 for globally harmonized standards,” it added.
It, however, recommends that policy-makers improve availability and quality of 4G networks until the case for 5G networks becomes clearer and more compelling.
“Until the case for 5G networks can be clearly made, policy makers may consider enhancing the availability of and boosting the quality of 4G networks,” it recommended.