If you ask the average person what they know about 5G technology, the first thing that will pop into their head will likely be something to do with cellphone technology. And if you consider the 2019 rollout of 5G this far, perhaps that wouldn’t be too far off the mark. The average consumer would also likely recall that 5G is a faster-based technology to 4G LTE, and that wouldn’t be all that inaccurate either.
However, what 5G offers today, how it’s deployed and what the 5G system is going to look like in years to come, will be greatly different. In fact, at the risk of using a stereotype, indeed 5G NR (New Radio) technology is poised to be “disruptive.” That said, this next generation of wireless network technology will also be an enabler across a great number of industries and applications, and in all probability spur all-new use cases as well.
According to Hans Vestberg the CEO of Verizon, The Telephone service giants have three main business rollouts for 5G. There’s the main consumer use case, which includes 5G smartphones, there’s in-home 5G, which the company began rolling out in 2018, and there is the edge-computing 5G, which is the kind of 5G connectivity that businesses will take advantage of. “I think we are going to see an extraordinary impact of 5G in the next couple of years here,” Hans Vestberg said.
5G is the next generation of cellular wireless technology. It’s designed to provide high-bandwidth, low latency connectivity that, in some cases, is 100 times faster than the current 4G LTE connections people rely on today. Verizon has committed to launching its 5G network in 30 cities by the end of 2019.
Hans Vestberg said of the rollout. I think that the progress is really good, We outlined at the beginning of 2019 that we want 30 markets this year, we have so far launched 13 markets, and they are coming at the later part of the year.
Thus far, all 5G roll-outs from US carriers have been “non-standalone” (NSA) 5G, meaning they utilize 4G LTE as the backbone. AT&T has now announced that they will begin deploying standalone 5G in 2020, making them the first carrier to do so. Verizon has said that they will deploy standalone 5G in 2020 or 2021, and T-Mobile plans to begin deployment in the timeframe as well, while Sprint has no plans to move away from NSA 5G.
Standalone 5G will have big advantages for enterprises. “It’s easy to get lower latencies, and you can do network slicing,” says Daryl Schoolar, practice leader of next-generation architecture at Ovum. Network slicing allows the virtualized 5G standalone core to create partitioned virtual segments on the physical network, an important benefit for mission-critical IoT applications.
New devices will be needed to use standalone 5G vs NSA. “The initial devices use silicon that doesn’t support standalone and will continue to be supported by our non-standalone Core,” said an AT&T spokesperson.
The technology industry is counting on fifth-generation wireless, or 5G, to be the next big growth driver for all kinds of new products, from phones and chips to software and sensors. But 5G remains an unorganized idea, and the short-term advantage is no longer quite so clear.
The tech industry expects 5G to deliver speeds 10 to 40 times faster than current 4G LTE networks. Advocates expect its lower latency and data-rate capabilities to drive a new era of applications. But Wall Street analysts are suddenly questioning the rewards.
This past week, Goldman Sachs analyst Rod Hall wrote that 5G wouldn’t offer much to consumers by 2020. That’s when Apple is expected to release its 5G-enabled iPhones. “5G is a brand, not a feature,” Hall wrote to clients. “We do not believe that 5G offers consumers much in the way of additional utility .” He thinks that other 2020 iPhone features—augmented reality, a new design, and an improved camera—will prove more important to consumers.
China’s 5G buildout. For instance, Rosenblatt Securities notes that local governments in the Asian country are providing subsidies to “speed up 5G network deployments.” As a result, Rosenblatt says, more than 300 cities in China will have 5G networks by the end of 2020. Even Hall, the Goldman Sachs 5G skeptic, expects 120 million 5G smartphones to ship next year, mainly because of China’s aggressive buildout.
Faster speeds are what most consumers think about when they look towards 5G, but the new technology will offer other benefits as well. Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan explained that the lower latency versus older technologies will be a game-changer for a variety of applications, from driverless cars to healthcare to advertising. “Every industry is going to get disrupted,” Gowrappan said. “5G just accelerates that.”
“Think about driverless cars,” Gowrappan said. “What 5G does is it literally takes latency away,” allowing applications to react in the “blink of an eye.”
The lower latency and additional bandwidth will also mean potential big changes in the healthcare industry, as remote access to doctors and other professionals can be made possible.
Gowrappan explained that 5G will impact virtually any business that requires wiring and data processing as 5G’s speeds and low latency make more things possible than ever before.
U.S. Cellular, the nation’s 5th largest cellular carrier, announced Wednesday that it will be releasing 5G service in Iowa and Wisconsin during the first quarter of 2020.
U.S cellular initial deployment will utilize the 600 MHz spectrum, which is the same low-band spectrum that T-Mobile, the country’s 3rd largest carrier, is first using to deliver broadband 5G coverage. Devices with support for 600 MHz still need to get into more consumers’ hands, but U.S Cellular said even customers with 4G devices will start to experience better network quality as the cellular carrier upgrades cell sites with new 5G technology.
U.S Cellular’s 5G deployment using low-band spectrum will cover hundreds of communities across urban and rural areas in Wisconsin and Iowa, which are two of the largest markets for U.S Cellular’s.
T-Mobile and Sprint are still awaiting resolution on their $26 billion merger, and T-Mobile is now slowing down deployment of 5G infrastructure as they wait for the merger to play out in court. A report indicates that T-Mobile is not adding new sites for 5G macrocells currently, as they need the financial boost that regulatory and court approval for the Sprint merger will bring.
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, announced in April 2018, was and expected to finalize in the first half of 2019. Due to lawsuits and the lengthy court processes required, the merger has taken much longer.
T-Mobile’s delays in 5G infrastructure buildup will obviously push back the timeline their 5G rollout, but it may have larger implications across the 5G space as well, including potentially higher costs for customers.
Verizon has officially turned on 5G service in parts of New York City as well as in Panama City, Florida and Boise, Idaho. Verizon 5G is now available in 13 cities around the country, putting them ahead of Sprint and T-Mobile but still behind AT&T. Sprint currently offers 5G in 9 cities and T-Mobile has service available in 6, but AT&T has coverage in 21 (although their service is not available to consumers).
New York users will be able to use 5G in parts of Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, with service targeted around popular landmarks and attractions like Bryant Park, Madison Square Garden, and the Broadway Theater District. In Panama City, service is available downtown, in Forest Park, and by the Lower Grand Lagoon. In Boise, Verizon 5G is available in parts of Downtown, West Boise, Boise Town Square, and other popular areas.
Like the rest of their 5G network, Verizon is using millimeter-wave frequencies in these new locations. Millimeter-wave offers very fast download speeds but is limited in range, so service only works outdoors in close proximity to Verizon’s 5G towers.
The Fifth-generation wireless technology, or 5G, has been anticipated ushering in an entirely new age of wireless connectivity. Billions of devices including,self-driving cars, service robots, smart devices inside homes, wearable technology and sensors on the streets that will communicate and create freely exposed of sensitive data.
Government and technological leaders working at leading America’s 5G deployment efforts are excited about its potential, but new worry arises as well. Each new device will be an attack vector that the opponent could use to access entire networks. So far, America has yet to embrace a streamlined plan to secure the evolving infrastructure or purge influenced hardware and devices that already exist in today’s systems.
Security can be a big concern with any new technology, and some people have worried about how 5G networks will impact national security. Andy Purdy, Huawei CSO and former director of national cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, is confident that 5G is no less secure than previous mobile technologies, and in fact may prove to be even safer.
Purdy explained in a column on Forbes that 5G utilizes the best security factors of 4G, while adding new protocols to address previously unresolved threats. New security protocols offered by 5G include enhanced user authentication and stronger data encryption. “I believe that all communications networks need objective, transparent protections that hew to international standards,” Purdy wrote. He went on to add that “given the advanced new technology 5G brings to bear on network security, it can make networks more secure than they’ve ever been.”