4G is readily available and affordable these days, so don’t you think it’s time we started thinking about the next generation of mobile internet? Ofcom certainly thinks so.
Today Ofcom announced that it was beginning consultation with key members of the mobile industry with the goal of preparing the UK for arrival of 5G services before 2020. The communications watchdog has suggested that high frequency spectrum, i.e. 6GHz or above, will be used to host 5G.
The reason why these frequencies are being considered is because higher speeds are going to require larger blocks of spectrum to operate. Since most mobile services around the world use frequencies below 3GHz, the only frequencies with enough space to accommodate 5G are higher up. Or that’s the current thinking anyway.
So what would 5G be used for? Ofcom believes that 5G services could offer speeds ranging from 10Gbit/s to 50Gbit/s, which is significantly faster than the current 4G average of 15Mbit/s. Those faster speeds will apparently make 5G ideal for high-speed financial trading, 4K streaming, holographic projections, and a number of business uses. Not many of those are going to affect us as consumers, but imagine being able to stream 4K film and video instantly and without buffering?
Of course all of this is still only in the initial stages of planning, and the consultations could lead to plans changing in favour of something completely different. What we know for sure is that something more advanced than 4G is coming, and that can only be a good thing.