Market Insight

The network of networks is here but what is it and why do we need it?

September 2, 2019

This is the year 5G goes mainstream. But what is it? Why do we need it? And when will businesses be able to benefit from it? And why do we care?

Well at Vail Williams we care about the issues affecting your business.

By understanding the latest trends and technological developments affecting you, we ensure we have our fingers on the pulse of your future business, and property, needs.

So, here is the first in our series of informative blogs about 5G and how this next generation mobile wireless system could be set to transform your business.

But first, what exactly is 5G?

5G will be the fifth generation of mobile wireless systems, following on from previous mobile generations. 1G was the analogue and voice only system technology of the early 1990s 2G was a system capable of carrying text messages between users, whilst 3G provided the ability for users to browse the internet on their phones. 4G encapsulated all of this and it is the forerunner on which 5G has been built.

What will it deliver?

Anybody who is familiar with 4G wireless connectivity can hazard a guess that 5G will deliver a faster, somehow a better form of internet access.

The promise is that 5G technology will increase data transfer speeds over phone and tablet devices, which are increasingly used by people over and above the traditional desktop or laptop.

But its potential exceeds far beyond faster film downloads and streamlining.

Phone companies are investing an unthinkable amount of money in overhauling wireless broadband to bring this next generation network infrastructure to the masses.

Why do we need 5G?

Simply put, the internet is becoming saturated.

The past decade has been defined by the rollout of reliable internet access from the smartphones in our pockets. Over the coming years, we’re going to see an explosion in the number of connected devices, from cars and watches, to fridges.

In fact just recently a young girl who was denied access to the internet, successfully used her fridge to send out a tweet, much to her mother’s surprise.

The phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) means the interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.

It is predicted there will be over 20 billion connected devices by 2020.

And current networks simply aren’t up to the task in supporting that level of activity. A new standard is needed and that new standard is 5G.

So when will 5G go live?

The answer to this is that it is already available in several cities throughout the UK, but as is usual with these things, it’s a postcode lottery.

Initially, 5G coverage will be limited to the most highly populated areas and cities. EE have already stated that it will roll out its 5G network in the 1,500 busiest places and therefore it is likely to reach urban areas long before rural ones.

The four main mobile network operators have already started rolling out 5G across Cardiff Edinburgh, Birmingham, London, Manchester, and Belfast, with Vodafone looking to roll out to Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Glasgow, Guildford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Stoke and Wolverhampton in late 2019/20.

Since 5G phones have only recently come to market, the whole 5G revolution will really commence in 2020.

Even then, we may not see widespread 5G coverage in the UK until 2022 or later.

Between now and then, businesses should think about how the advent of 5G will affect you and your customers.

How will it impact the way in which your customers interact with your brand or effect purchases? What will the impact of any efficiency savings be on your business and how might it affect your future business requirements?

By thinking about some of these questions now, you’ll ensure that your business is best placed to take advantage of the network of networks.

To find out what 5G will mean for your business in terms of technological innovation and efficiency improvements, hang fire for our next 5G instalment coming soon.