Telecoms body seeks communication of 5G benefits to populace
According to a survey carried out by the Global System of Mobile Telecommunications Association Intelligence (GSMAi), revealed that while most end users expect 5G to deliver faster data speeds, they are however, are not abreast of further developments that can come from it.
5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications. It succeeds the 4G (LTE/WiMax), 3G (UMTS) and 2G (GSM) systems.
5G performance targets high data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity, and massive device connectivity.
The first phase of 5G specifications in Release-15 will be completed by April 2019, to accommodate the early commercial deployment. The second phase in Release-16 is due to be completed by April 2020, for submission to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as a candidate of IMT-2020 technology.
In the survey, the GSMA’s analyst unit asked 15,000 mobile users in 16 markets to define their expectation of what 5G will deliver.
While 54 per cent cited improved mobile data speeds and 41 per cent anticipated improved service coverage, only a quarter named new services with even fewer (20 per cent) citing new devices. More than 20 per cent highlighted improved fixed broadband, with a similar number citing lower service costs.
However, close to 25 per cent were unable to name any 5G benefits.
In an accompanying report, GSMAi noted: “It will come as a disappointment, though perhaps not a surprise, to operators that innovative new services only resonate with 25 per cent of respondents in our survey. Consumers currently see 5G as the logical continuation of previous generation.”
Head of GSMA Intelligence, Peter Jarich, added: “While smartphones remain the dominant consumer technology, device vendors and operators are looking to 5G to unlock a new chapter in the smartphone growth story, even though our research suggests there is still work to do to convince consumers of the benefits of the move to 5G.”
GSMA however, warned that the successful roll-out of ultra-fast 5G services relies on timely access to the right amount and type of spectrum in 2019.
As the race to launch 5G services intensifies, the GSMA highlights the need for governments, regulators and the mobile industry to work together to deliver widespread coverage, and the full potential of 5G for everyone.
According to the ‘GSMA Public Policy Position on 5G Spectrum,’ governments around the world have started to auction spectrum for 5G networks, but variations in how much spectrum has been assigned, the onerous conditions imposed – and the cost of access to that spectrum – means the speed, reach and quality of 5G services could vary dramatically between countries.
The body said early adopter countries will be the first to realise the significant benefits of 5G – from fibre-like mobile broadband speeds and smarter cities to autonomous cars and digitised factories – and stand to reap important socio-economic benefits including GDP growth.
GSMAi forecasts that there will be 1.3 billion 5G connections by 2025, but this will be dependent on operators gaining access to sufficient spectrum.
Head of Spectrum, GSMA, Brett Tarnutzer, said: “Operators urgently need more spectrum to deliver the endless array of services that 5G will enable – our 5G future depends heavily on the decisions governments are making in 2019.
“Without strong government support to allocate sufficient spectrum to next generation mobile services, it will be impossible to achieve the global scale that will make 5G affordable and accessible for everyone. There is a real opportunity for innovation from 5G, but this hinges on governments focusing on making enough spectrum available, not maximising auction revenues for short term gains.”
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