July 25th 2018
5G IN THE UK | WHAT'S NEW?
We are all eagerly awaiting the arrival of commercial 5G networks in the UK, but what’s new? What has recently happened that can give us an insight into 5G in the future? Let’s find out in our #bizfit blog.
WHAT IS 5G?
5G is the next generation of Broadband Cellular Network Technology, here to replace 4G with much faster download and upload speeds, as well as more capacity for users.
5G SPECTRUM AUCTION
In April 2018, Ofcom’s 5G Spectrum auction was finally complete and most of the major UK networks got a piece of the 5G pie.
Networks were able to bid for 2.3GHz spectrum, which is able to be used today to help provide extra capacity to existing 4G networks, and may be able to assist with the future 5G network.
Or, networks were able to bid on the 3.4GHz spectrum which will be used as the ‘red-carpet’ for 5G networks. Most current devices don’t support the 3.4GHz network so new devices will have to be made to take advantage.
As for the actual results, O2 had won home all of the 2.4GHz spectrum that was available and 40MHz of the 3.4GHz spectrum. Vodafone bought out the biggest slice of the 3.4GHz spectrum (50MHz), with EE managing to buy out 40MHz, followed by Three getting 20MHz (bare in mind Three already held 40MHz of the 3.4GHz beforehand). A total of £1.36 billion was spent in the auction!
The Spectrum auction is important to note, as it establishes which major network has the biggest ‘portion’ of the 5G pot. However, it doesn’t tell the whole story. EE actually now has a total of 295MHz of the 3.4GHz band putting it ahead of the other networks. Either way, it seems that EE, Three, O2 and Vodafone are aiming to be key players in the 5G technology.
VODAFONE 5G TRIALS
Vodafone had revealed that they will test 5G across seven cities later this year. The cities include London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Cardiff and Glasgow.
The trials are set to start later this year between October and December 2018 and will ensure that a full commercial launch for 5G on the Vodafone Network will launch early 2020.
As said earlier, Vodafone had bought the biggest amount of the 3.4GHz spectrum in the Ofcom 5G Spectrum auction, and with these trials, Vodafone is in a strong position to becoming a leader in delivering 5G across the UK.
New 5G bands mean that new mobiles will have to be created to support them. It is thought that new 5G-ready mobiles will be available next year, in 2019 with most guesses aiming at flagship phones from companies such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and more.
According to techradar.com, phone makers have signed on to use Qualcomms Snapdragon X50 5G NR modem, which will allow them to release 5G-ready phones before the 3.4GHz 5G band is available for commercial use.
It is expected that the first 5G-ready smartphone will be from Samsung, probably the Galaxy S10, or from Huawei as they have announced they are planning on releasing a 5G smartphone in Q3 of 2019. Even Oneplushave announced that they are working with US phone networks to launch a 5G capable phone later next year.
If you guys want to stay up-to-date on 5G then check out 5g.co.uk, which was a major source of information for this blog article and a great news outlet for all thins 5G.