Mobile communication has completely changed the way we live, work and play. When they come online in the next five to ten years, 5G networks are expected to revolutionise the ways we do business and drive unprecedented economic and societal growth.
This will be an interconnected world, it will be a world where humans are communicating with each other but also with machines, where machines are communicating with each other (...) and where people are not really aware of the connectivity anymore, they just are connected to whatever they use.
Director General, Swiss Federal Office of Communications
Euronews was at the recent ITU Telecom World in Bangkok, a major meeting point of governments, regulators and the telecom industry. “One of the big buzzwords this year is 5G, which promises ultra high speed wireless internet,” said Euronews correspondent Jeremy Wilks.
He spoke to Philipp Metzger, director general of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications. According to him, “this will be an interconnected world, it will be a world where humans are communicating with each other but also with machines, where machines are communicating with each other and where we are using different layers of services through one network that ultimately merges into one, and where people are not really aware of the connectivity anymore, they just are connected to whatever they use.”
To achieve the so-called “5G dream”, the engineers meeting in Bangkok envisage some mind-blowing data rates.
“For 5G, definitely, we will have much higher speed. Some people say we need fibre-like speed. We have to reach 20 GBps, that kind of speed for any users,” said Yeufeng Zhou, Chief Wireless Network Marketing Officer at Huawei Technologies.
Continuing what 4G technology started, 5G will further increase the interactivity of all kinds of devices and applications, making a difference for millions of consumers in their daily lives. But there are some risks, including health hazards.
“Well, the risks, of course, are that we have a number of unknowns when it comes to the technical feasibility of these interconnected devices and services. We have risks in terms of return on investment. And then, of course, we have risks in terms of applications, we have certainly cyber security aspects that we have to cater for,” said Philipp Metzger.
So, when can consumers expect this 5G revolution to occur?
According to Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, “Within one or two years we will be able to present to the ITU family the final proposal for 5G standards for approval in 2019.”