As Vodafone and other networks launch their 5G network, just how much will it change things for your business?
With each generation of mobile phone comes a shift towards innovation, from the first generation, which brought us communication on the go, to third-generation (3G) cameras and basic video calling.
Another thrust forward in technological advancement is now here, with the arrival of 5G to some networks across the UK. This week Vodafone is updating its network to launch 5G, bringing with it big changes for its customers. EE is already selling 5G compatible devices and it is said O2 is set to launch as soon as this summer too.
To know whether you’re likely to want to make the switch over to 5G, you’ll need to understand just what it is. According to Vodafone, it is a ‘network that’s better, fast, stronger and built for the future’.
The dawn of 5G promises to provide faster average speeds that are more consistent, even in areas without great coverage (peak speeds should reach in excess of 1Gbps). Interactive apps, games, video calls and live broadcasting should be kept responsive by 5G easily (due to a latency reduction of more than 60%) and making calls can happen without interrupting 4G download speeds.
DO YOU NEED 5G FOR YOUR BUSINESS?
The enhancements 5G will bring are particularly exciting for businesses. General consumers will enjoy the advancements, no doubt, but it is a potential game-changer for how businesses are run.
Why? Not only does it mean the connection is easier and smoother without the added frustration of slow signals, technologically a new world is opening up. With the guaranteed transmission of messages in real-time, it means services such as power lines, railways and remote surgery are possible.
The new Augmented Reality (AR) geolocation data will radicalise how people shop, receive information on-the-go and communicate with day-to-day devices. Property such as bins, buildings and household goods will be connected to the internet, bringing about the move towards ‘the internet of things’, smart cities and self-driving cars.
For businesses, 5G is about moving forward into a new realm of possibility and preparing for what the future will bring. Mark Evans, the CEO, Telefónica UK, said: “5G is a promise of so much more – for consumers, business, industry and public services. O2 is working in partnership with British industry, encouraging businesses, big and small, to engage with the possibilities of 5G technology through both our testbed programme and launch deployment.”
He added: “Mobile is one of the UK’s most powerful opportunities to strengthen our economy and improve the lives of British people and 5G is a significant milestone for this nation.”
Who can get it?
Initially, Vodafone will roll out its 5G in seven UK cities – Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Bristol and Cardiff. Another 12 cities will be compatible by the end of 2019. Vodafone is also planning to launch 5G roaming in Spain, Italy and Germany over summer – something it claims as being a ‘worldwide first’.
As well as being within range of a 5G compatible region, businesses who wish to switch to 5G must have a 5G compatible device and a 5G plan or bolt-on tariff.
This is the year that will see Vodafone, EE and O2 take the plunge in a big way, and the roll-out to more cities and regions will continue into next year.
The hard work has been done by the networks. Businesses looking to invest in their future with 5G technology need only make decisions on handsets, tariffs and network preference.