The first 5G smartphones will be officially ready for sale in 2019. Players like Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, OnePlus and others are all expected to introduce 5G-ready phones as the networks will start rolling out next year in the US. But 5G won’t just be another upgrade in terms of internet speeds, major players like Intel and Qualcomm expect it to drive a whole new ecosystem of content distribution.
“It’s not just another G. It’s really important, because we really do believe it’s quite transformational. And what I mean by that is, it’s actually going to be about more than your traditional devices,” Jonathan Wood, Senior Director Ecosystem and Business Development Advanced Technologies Group at Intel said in an interaction with indianexpress.com.
While for the average consumer, the idea of 5G might seem like another upgrade in terms of hardware, companies view it as a means of powering a lot more devices, including the Internet of Things and its billions of smart devices. As Woods sees it, 5G will be at the intersection of many things, including AI-driven smarter devices, new forms of content and boosting revenues.
“We already know with studies 5G will increase the number of types of distribution of content, also the amount of usage. By 2028, we expect 5G to specifically drive $1.3 trillion worth revenue for media and entertainment,” Woods said.
With 5G’s reduced latency and faster speeds, it also means more forms of content will be easier to execute and made available far more easily. The Intel executive said that virtual reality, cloud gaming, augmented reality type experiences will all benefit from the rollout of 5G.
“Everything we take for granted or is not really smart, that’s all going to be smart,” Woods said. “To give an example of Holographic experiences. That’s actually possible with 5G. Stitching different types of content together in real-time…Augmented reality to aid shopping and a lot else will be easily possible.”
In February, Intel had showcased its 5G-connected computers at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. While the technology is expected to start rolling out to consumers in 2019, Woods says it will ramp up in the next year.
“We feel that 2020 is when everyone will really start scaling and ramping up the manufacture for 5G devices. Intel is engaging with ecosystem so that everyone can be ready for the change when 5G comes,” he said.
5G will also try to solve a problem that will only grow as connected devices increase in the world, from cars to your smart microwave. That will be the problem of scale, while maintaining high speeds.
For example at stadiums or really crowded places, the network connectivity can be patchy, and streaming video is challenging when there are 40,000 or more people in the same vicinity. “The network needs to change to handle all of this. Really the network needs more capacity and that’s what 5G is designed for; to handle 10, 40 times what a current network can do,” he explained.
Operators and OEMs are working on improving many things with 5G, such as latency. “We are looking at latency of under sub-10 milliseconds. So the network is 10 times faster in terms of capacity, and 10 times faster in terms of speed,” he said. 5G will use the mmWave or millimetre wave across a variety of spectrum.
Asked how he thinks 5G will pan out in India, Woods said the regulators here are on the right track. “When it comes to 5G, there are traditional three brands; the high, low and mid-band. Most countries are looking at one of these for 5G. However, in India, we are seeing that regulatory authority is thinking holistically and the licensing of spectrum is considering all three bands, the high, low and mid-band.”
He admitted that in India, the 5G deployment will have different challenges. “Especially when you think about the populous environment and geography in India. Still 5G won’t be just about connecting to the urban metro cities like Mumbai, but rather looking at connecting every single city, every village.”