For years, the tech industry has been bombarded with claims that 5G will change everything. It’s been the word on everyone’s lips, whether that be excitement over its possible use cases or the exasperated asking, “will 5G ever live up to the hype?”.
However, everything indicates that 2022 will mark a turning point in the development of 5G technology. Consequently, this year will be decisive for its widespread implementation. The government is undergoing substantial investment to achieve this goal. At the end of last year, Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries announced the UK will be switching off its 2G and 3G networks by 2033, and a further £50 million has been allocated to put the “UK at the forefront of mobile technology”.
The recent announcement is part of a bigger ambition, central to the Government’s recent Levelling Up White Paper, which commits to the majority of the UK being covered by a 5G signal by 2030. The programme has been criticised as being primarily a re-announcement of a lot of existing aims. The ‘vague’ 5G target for example has existed since 2017. This aside, the drive for mobile is undeniable across the globe. According to a CCS Insight report, 1.34 billion users are predicted to be connected by 2022.
In response to the demand and re-affirmed targets, expect to see lots of progress in both 5G handsets and networks, further enhancing the 5G experience for consumers. We’re talking more than just faster phone speeds — this is about major growth in nationwide broadband capabilities, allowing for more home internet options so you can experience game-changing connectivity and speeds for work, play and everything in-between.
As 5G becomes more prevalent, we’ll also find a surge in need for full fibre. 5G is an access technology, so the better the fixed network, the better 5G can perform. While 5G is often touted as the end of fixed-line broadband, the truth is that they’re complementary technologies, not substitutes for one another. Our Chairman, Mikael Sandberg, discusses this at some length in his recent articles for Digitalisation World and Mobile Magazine on why 5G isn’t ready to reach its potential.
If the Government intends to expand the availability of future proof connectivity across the UK, then FTTP is the winning option. In fact, because 5G will require fibre infrastructure to connect masts to the rest of the network, 5G should be used to drive the rollout of fibre, which can and should be shared with mobile networks and consumers alike.
The benefits of getting it right are huge, with the realisation of new and exciting use cases, including IoT, advanced robotics, and mixed reality. 5G may have taken a little while to get started, but it will likely have a greater influence on our lives this year – whether it’s on our phones or in our homes, or if we’re using a 5G connection to play games or run a business.
Our next blog explains how 5G fuelled IoT will power the ‘Future of Work’ this year.