MWC 2019: 5G is here… Is it?


MWC 2019: 5G is here… Is it?

Mobile World Congress 2019

Yet again, it was time for the year’s most awaited mobile technology event and its grandeur and enthusiasm did much of the talking itself, amazing 4 days they were! Amidst hordes of enthusiastic companies and sponsors, curious to ride on the connectivity journey, every road in Barcelona lead to MWC 19 at Fira Gran Via.

Somil Sharma - 12 March 2019

The leap to 5G

The congress was buzzing with the latest and greatest on 5G networks, IoT, artificial intelligence and gaming. The live demos, mobile advancements and virtual scheme of ideas, left one gaping at the scheme of things we are about to be a part of in the future, which we assume is not very far from now.

5G was undoubtedly the central theme at MWC 2019 and being talked about as generation’s big technological leap. The mobile fraternity was caught both anxious and optimist at the idea of the advent of 5G in the real world and the practical possibility to lessen the gap between its virtual presence and operational excellence. The live demos and seminars at MWC did showcase a very promising face of 5G but are we convinced that it will soon make progress from labs and trials into the real world? The last 2 years have been quite good for its progress but its presence on a global arena is yet to see the light of the day.

There are 2 key drivers which would define the availability of 5G to the masses; primary driver would be building 5G networks and the second would be developing compatible devices to enable seamless connections on 5G network. Both the processes will be capital intensive and slow. Telcos across the globe have already partnered with network vendors and suppliers for enabling 5G networks and the US telcos seem to be leading the pack facing the greatest pull from their consumers. On the global front, 5G will have to cross many technological, topographic and regulatory barriers to reach the masses.

5G: a game changer or not?

With the world moving towards a space which is highly connected and speed dependent, will 5G do the trick? We as consumers, moved from an era which was dominated by 2G, then to 3G and witnessed a dream come true situation when 4G came into play. With advanced modems, cellphones, routers, it only got better, and life became so much easier. But, since change is the only thing constant, so is technology, and it cannot get latent. Many operators, network vendors and technology players set the stage to welcome 5G and made the world believe that this is where all ends shall meet. We are hopeful and optimist, but the fate is yet to be drawn. Will 5G poise a distinction well regarded, above its 4G counterpart or will it simply be an evolution to 4G considering the latest 4G technology (LTE-A) can deliver speed comparable to lower end of 5G.

Whether 5G is a game changer itself or an evolution to 4G, there is no debate on its USP for mass consumers – speed and latency. Its use in densely populated cities and commercial landscapes such as train stations, airports and shopping centers will be inevitable to meet capacity demand while providing high speed connectivity. It will not be a surprise to see 5G wireless network launch its way in the metropolitan and uber crowded cities such as Chicago and Las Vegas, to ease the lives of its people and businesses both.

When understanding the extent of benefits which 5G could bring, it is important to realize that improved consumer experience with faster speed and reduced latency is just one aspect and often more discussed. The real potential change will be on the enterprise front when millions of connected devices might enable the long-awaiting scenarios in the field of healthcare, smart cities, future of mobility, etc. where the 5G USP is Network Slicing and Edge Computing. The launch of 5G networks in 2019 will definitely speed-up the go-to-market for 5G use cases but most of those benefits are not likely to materialize at commercial scale in the next couple of years.

5G: arrival of the new networks

2019 is the year of 5G launch but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A lot is currently focused on what impact 5G will bring in 10 years from now but a little on what it will bring at its launch. There’s still a lot of work to be done on both the network infrastructure and the 5G enabled devices, and an almost as good alternative is present in the form of LTE-A. It will not be an exaggeration to say that the complete roll out of 5G networks to make it within reach of the masses and enterprises might take another 10 years.

The world anxiously awaits the promise of 5G to be delivered, the plethora of opportunities it would bring to the world, and the stage it would set for revolution in technology.

Mobile World Congress 2019

Watch our vlog from Mobile World Congress 2019 in which we talk with Paul Lee, Head of TMT research at Deloitte, on the current status of 5G.

More information on 5G?

Do you want to know more on MWC 2019 or 5G? Please contact Somil Sharma at +31 (0) 620 575 424.

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