By Kate Brown
Network providers, including Vodafone, O2 and Three, are already looking to test 5G networks throughout 2018. It is expected that the first 5G-ready smartphone will be released as early as next year. Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and 14 other phone manufacturers are currently working with the chip manufacturer Qualcomm to create such devices. A figure provided by Cisco predicts that by 2020, 50 billion 5G connected devices will be operating globally.
5G vastly improves data speeds on mobile devices and will help free up much-needed bandwidth. 5G networks will be able to handle much more data and connect more devices simultaneously at faster speeds than existing technology. Whilst 4G currently demonstrates maximum download speeds of around 50 megabits per second, 5G networks will be able to run at more than 100 times that speed. Not only can 5G help to reduce the amount of time a video takes to buffer on your mobile phone but it is also expected to have a significant impact on technological advancements in the automotive industry as well as for humanity.
The introduction of 5G could assist driverless cars in communicating with traffic lights and other vehicles to anticipate traffic conditions and avoid collisions. Asha Keddy, a representative from Intel for 5G, said 5G will see “the end of red-light, green-light traffic junctions”. Leading British 5G expert, Adrian Braine, said: “with 5G, you could have a surgeon with a patient in another country, the surgeon controlling remotely a robot and getting the exact haptic feedback in real time he would get if he were operating on a patient in front of him”. Ms Keddy also reported that 5G could help to free up space in hospitals, whereby the technology can allow for people to receive hospital services at home.