Access and Feeds

5G: The Global Race to Rollout Infrastructure

By Dick Weisinger

5G is the next generation technology for wireless networks. It promises faster and more reliable service. Applications of the new technology include smart cities, tele-health care, and improved business logistics.

Brian Lavallée, Senior Director at Ciena, listed the benefits of 5G:

  • Up to 1000 times increased in bandwidth, per unit area
  • Up to 100 times more connected devices
  • Up to 10Gbps connection rates to mobile devices in the field
  • A perceived network availability of 99.999%
  • A perceived 100% network coverage
  • Maximum of 1ms end-to-end round trip delay (latency)
  • Up to 90% reduction in network energy utilization
From: McKinsey: The road to 5G: The inevitable growth of infrastructure cost

But deployment of 5G is dependent on the building out of the infrastructure to support it and the parallel rollout of devices that are able to use it. Telecommunications and hardware vendors globally are racing to build out 5G capabilities, but it’s expensive and may take longer than many originally projected.

Jeffrey Moerdler, attorney at Mintz law firm, said that “the infrastructure for 5G really isn’t in place. While there’s lots of headlines about 5G testing by Verizon and AT&T, those are really small local tests. You won’t have large cities on 5G right away. The iPhone won’t be on 5G until the fourth quarter of 2020 or the first quarter of 2021. It’s going to be phased up over the next year, but it will really be 2021 or 2022 before we see it on the chipset side.”

What to expect? Data compiled by Patterson Clark at Politico suggests that we’re five years away from even seeing 15 percent coverage of cell service by 5G networks. The reality is that many people will still use older 2G and 3G networks for some time. In 2025, 4G is expected to still carry about 59 percent of service.

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