5G rollout articles have been a mainstay on Google since around 2017, when forward thinking zines and telecom industry specialists began to tout the benefits of the infrastructure update. A short search will produce a bevy of work based around the uprooting of 4G LTE into 5G. The progression was supposed to take months rather than years, and considering the acceleration of telecom technology around the world, that didn’t seem to be an outrageous claim.
However, moving forward in the timeline showcases a slowdown of expectations. 2018 articles say the same thing as pieces from 2017. There is just as much reason, then, to predict that the stuff from 2019 that -finally- predicts the commercialization of 5G is premature rather than on time. No one would blame you for thinking that.
However, there may be evidence that this batch of early predictions may actually come through. 2019 marks the year that municipalities and enterprise level companies are making investments in 5G as a profitable venture. There have been many exciting new deployments on 5G New Radio, with second phase deployments on the core network and New Radio not far behind.
Let’s take a look at some of the leading indicators that 2019 will finally be the year that 5G hits our commercial radar in a substantial way.
The Rise of the Internet of Things (IoT)
The need for 5G’s 1 ms latency and X gigabit/sec bandwidth comes from the proliferation of the IoT, which is definitely a rising reality in 2019. Companies across the world are adopting IoT connected technology that is continuously generating the digital equivalent of tons of data. Rather than being simply unorganized bulk data, this data is highly specialized and valuable. Companies, in their rush to contain, organize and deploy this data, are beginning to demand a faster, stronger and more secure online connection. The kind of connection that they want can only come through 5G. Although most of these companies are doing good business on 4G LTE, decision makers are salivating to be the first on the exponentially faster 5G network and gain those elusive competitive advantages just a few business cycles earlier than the competition.
4G will still be in high demand for companies without the compatible technology to use 5G. The FCC has identified the 28GHz, 37GHz and 39GHz bands as the world that 5G will inhabit. The technology to fully utilize these new bandwidths are prohibitively expensive at this point, limited pretty much exclusively to international conglomerates with expansive networks and hooks into ubiquitously compatible technologies.
The power of 5G will actually serve as its limitation. Companies that are left out of the initial rollout will basically have no need for 5G at first. The prices that mobile operators will charge first responders will leave very little room for a profit motive, except in the case of companies that are already hooked into cutting edge, municipal level projects. These first responders will pay the price for mobile operators’ investment into 5G – much like a luxury car buyer pays tens of thousands of dollars just to say the car is “brand new.” At first, 5G seemingly will serve as its own precursor, with few ties to everyday commercial technology. However, these high level functions will eventually trickle down into commercial society, and when the landslide starts, it will begin to move quite fast after a while.
New Hardware Deployment
The big telecom companies will need to replace an enormous amount of infrastructure just to begin hosting 5G. 2019 may be the year of 5G because these companies have begun to do just that.
One of the most important leading indicators of 5G service in the US is when Verizon begins its deployment of fibre replacements around the mainland. Verizon was the first US based company to announce that it would provide 5G services to commercial audiences.
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