Norway is all set to take it up a notch in the world of mobile connectivity with the recent launch of a 5G pilot project in the city of Kongsberg. Norwegian telecommunications giant Telenor is responsible for bringing the latest edition of lightning-fast internet to the Nordic country.
Currently, it is still in a testing phase with five families being granted access to the technology.
“We are starting in Kongsberg and will expand to offer more pilot locations in 2019, while gradually preparing for the commercial roll-out of 5G in 2020,” revealed Telenor Norway Acting CEO Bjørn Ivar Moen in a press statement.
Welcoming the next generation
What does 5G mean for the average domestic user once it is widely available? With download speeds of between 1GBps and 10GBps, the connected world can move huge data in a matter of seconds.
“It will be nice in the future to stream everything in higher definition and [especially] with apps getting bigger”, Flexrock AS Sales Director and TOPTOURS.NO founder Arunas Jonas Kastenas said. “So maybe not necessarily now, but in the future.”
On the other hand, Crister Aalberg Naess, who is a project manager and works with content marketing/product development at Åsnes, cannot wait for 5G. Since he works a lot on the go and many of the IT systems he deals with are on cloud storage, “faster speed and more reliable internet is a must”.
A chance for progress
When it comes to businesses, it offers up the opportunity to step into the next generation of connectivity. “They can benefit from this development since connection speeds are faster, more robust,” said Nancy Ahola, chief strategy officer at Z-Instruments. Her company is a radio frequency test and measurement company in Finland.
“This will mean a great deal of advancement in areas like artificial intelligence since it uses huge amounts of data that might be stored in the cloud,” she explained. Ahola continued, saying that remote workers will also be able to telecommute more easily.
Apart from these advances, she sees a plethora of exciting opportunities for autonomous cars and buses, development in gaming, cloud computing, virtual reality, augmented reality and all other technologies that require strong network connections.
Ahola concludes that 5G will enable more advanced Internet of Things devices and allow businesses to create better services for them.
Can you use it?
For the moment, most smartphones being wielded by users are not capable of 5G connectivity. However, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon recently revealed at the 4G/5G Summit in Hong Kong that there will be two 5G smartphones available by next year. Moments later, he was joined on stage by OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei.
Pei confirmed that his manufacturing firm will be among the first to join the 5G bandwagon. However, it will face stiff competition from the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer – Samsung. The Korean firm, along with US telecom provider Verizon, announced on Monday 3rd December that they would offer a 5G capable device by the first half of 2019.
Not all flash
However, it is not all peaches and cream when it comes to gearing up for the lightning fast world of 5G. Initially, the services and devices are expected to be costly.
Strategy Analytics’ Director for Emerging Device Strategies Ken Hyers said that one of the biggest initial hurdles is the price of handsets or devices. “It will be a tough sell to get consumers to pay more for a phone that offers fewer obvious benefits.”
He predicts that by 2025, half of all smartphones will be 5G-enabled. However, in the interim period, Hyers believes service providers will be forced to subsidise in order to attract more users to the network. He expanded - “Phone vendors will [also] be pressured to meet price points for their 5G devices which will leave them with razor-thin margins.”
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