5G is certainly gaining momentum. However, the rate at which network deployment is taking place depends largely on the country you chose to look at. Development will depend on a number of factors including domestic targets, production and adoption capabilities and a nation’s digital strategy. Reports have shown that telecom operators, globally, are expected to spend around $300 billion on new 5G core network deployment over the next ten years.
The 5G frequency spectrum is divided into three deployments: low-band, mid-band and millimeter wave, referring to different segments of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- The low band ranges between 600 -800-900 MHz, similar to 4G with similar capacity giving download speeds a higher than 4G: 30-250 Mbps. Its cell towers have the same range coverage area to current 4G towers, and provides the best coverage.
- Mid- band 5G ranges between 2.5-3.5- 3.7-4.2 GHz and allows speeds of 100-900 Mbits/s, with cell towers providing service up to several miles in radius. It is considered the ideal deployment because it offers better coverage than millimeter waves and acceptable spectrum availability to reach most of the speed promised by 5G.
- Millimeter waves (high-band), the fastest, ranges between 24-28-37G-39G-47, though higher frequencies may be used in the future. Compared to cable internet, it can achieve download speeds of a gigabit/second, but have a limited range with many small cells.
The number of commercially deployed 5G networks reached 55 globally in 2019, more than three time from 2018. This includes 21 new 5G deployments in Europe and 10 in Asia, Middle East and Africa will have 14, eight for the Americas and two for Australia.
“5G represents a paradigm shift in the way that networks are designed, deployed and managed, introducing inherent complexities in the architecture as well as exacting demands on performance and latency,” said Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer, VIAVI.
Compatible handset device volumes are estimated to hit 160M units as China continues its expansion of 5G coverage, according to the Ericsson Mobility Report. As such, China is developing affordable 5G phones, while the US is focused on the premium market.
We will see growth in 5G-compatible customer-premises equipment (CPE) in 2020, and in fixed wireless terminals, fixed wireless terminals (FWT), and pocket routers, accelerating the implementation of 5G-enabled homes.
Thus, 5G adoption demands extensive infrastructure changes and implementation which will undoubtedly require more time and planning.