This probably isn't the first time you've heard 5G being mentioned, and it's something that has been a big talking point in the world of technology the past year. If you're wondering what 5G is and how it will affect you, then keep on reading.
5G is just an abbreviated term that stands for 'fifth generation mobile networks'. The feature that makes it different to the networks before it is it will be much faster than we have ever experienced, some are saying it could be up to 100 times faster. It is rumoured that 5G will provide broadband-equivalent download speed, which will aid in streaming videos and will even speed up the data transfer for driverless cars. For the UK, the introduction of 5G to public and private sectors will hopefully prove the power of connectivity and digital technology when used to work together to benefit local communities and economies.
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Network providers around the world are already testing the 5G networks. O2 are one of the pioneers for this, investing £25 million in new testbeds across the UK. The first 5G Testbed opportunity was in North Greenwich, which was announced at an event hosted at the O2 Arena earlier this year, allowing every company in the FTSE 100 to test 5G for themselves. Smartphones ready to support 5G are already being prepped for release by the end of this year.
O2 conducted an analysis, revealing that 5G will play an immense part in improving household finances and even drive savings for councils. Some households could save up to £450 a year on energy, council, and food bills. This would be due to using 5G enabled smart grids, and food waste could be reduced also, with the introduction of smart fridges. Councils could regain up to £2.8 billion due to the introduction of smart lighting and smart refuse collection. The NHS will also benefit substantially from the introduction of 5G, as it will free up 1.1 million GP hours by using telehealth video conferencing and real-time remote health monitoring.
Due to the high demand and expectation of 5G, Ofcom is planning an auction of 40MHz of spectrum in the 2.3GHz band, and 150MHz of spectrum in the 3.4GHz band, in the hopes that this will help support the demand. The UK's 5G is expected to launch from around early 2020.