Breaking down the hype: What can we expect from 5G?

With the launch of commercial 5G, what exactly can we expect?

With many mobile operators beginning to launch commercial fifth-generation (5G) cellular networks and devices across the world, there's much hype about the opportunities presented by the technology.

In fact, according to a new report by telecoms giant Huawei and independent research firm STL Partners, the rise of 5G mobile technologies will generate $1.4 trillion in gross domestic product for worldwide economies in the next decade.

The report, published in October, also identified healthcare, manufacturing and retail as key industries set to benefit from 5G. Other findings are that 5G will help medical professionals treat over 850 million extra outpatients a year by 2030, grow the manufacturing sector by four per cent and reduce global emissions by half a billion tonnes.

On announcing the results, Victor Zhang - Senior Vice President at Huawei - claimed that 5G "provides great opportunities to transform industries" and will create "brand new business models" in a world experiencing "economic slowdown". But, at the same time, he warned that these will "only be achieved industry, government and regulators work together".

Breaking down the hype

5G clearly offers a great deal of potential, and it's understandable that so many people are getting excited. Dr Jean-Francois Fava-Verde, Innovation Lead for Digital and 5G at UKRI, says there is often a certain level of hype that comes with new technologies and 5G is no exception.

Her view is that businesses and consumers will experience real value from 5G over the next year. "Looking beyond this hype, we can expect the rollout of 5G to benefit businesses and consumers alike, starting in 2020. First and foremost, 5G will increase the speed of communications," she says.

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