Telcos Are Talking 5.5G

5.5g, telecom, 5g

Despite the world being behind in rolling out 5G, telcos are talking about 5.5G, the better iteration of 5G.

  • 5.5G aims to enhance and expand upon 5G’s capabilities
  • This reflects the industry’s need for consistent innovation to remain competitive and relevant.

Telecom companies are already in talks about the next mobile internet evolution, known as “5.5G” or “Advanced 5G,” despite still rolling out 5G worldwide.

This generation of technology standards for cellular networks was a major focus at the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2024 in Barcelona. It drew the attention of the biggest industry leaders, including Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica, BT, and Vodafone. You can blame Huawei for the new 5.5G obsession.

5.5G aims to enhance and expand upon what 5G network architecture has to offer. It’s mainly characterized by significantly faster speeds, with downlink speeds of 10 Gbps and uplink speeds of 1 Gbps. This would offer a 10-fold increase compared to typical 5G speeds. Its ability to support 100 billion connections would increase the number of devices that can connect to the network simultaneously. Like 5G, 5.5G boasts extremely low latency, which is crucial for real-time applications like autonomous vehicles, remote surgery, and advanced gaming. And finally, 5.5G incorporates native intelligence features, allowing the network to adapt and optimize performance based on real-time traffic and user demands.

The vision behind 5.5G is for mobile internet to power even more advanced applications, from mixed reality headsets to autonomous vehicles and smart manufacturing. But wasn’t that 5G’s selling point?

You see, when it first came out, 5G was marketed as a revolutionary technology, opening doors to groundbreaking advancements in various fields. This ad, for example, as wacky as it is, makes the message violently clear: 5G is the future.

And now, between their work on 6G and rolling out 5G, they shoved 5.5G in the mix. But why?

There seems to be an unspoken rule for companies to not go more than 18 months (a year and a half) without introducing something new to their consumers, particularly in the technology sector. It sounds a bit dramatic, yes, but it’s a direct byproduct of today’s dynamic environment: innovation and adaptation.

The unwritten rule has a lot to do with market volatility. Adapting and introducing new offerings keep companies relevant and competitive. It’s what probably killed BlackBerry before it had a chance to ripen.

Besides, technology is constantly evolving. If you are not the first at the adult table, you run the risk of being relegated to the kids’ table. C’est la vie, mon amie. Once that happens, your investors will not be happy. Consistent innovation is the mark of potential future success, and THAT’s what investors love to see.  

Is 5.5G a slightly more refined iteration of 5G in cool packaging? Yes. Are they doing it to bridge the gap in time between when 5G first started to roll out and when 6G will come? Probably. But are they doing it to keep their ranks on the food chain? Definitely.

Let’s hope we get 6G before they decide on “5.75G” or “advanced 5G plus.”

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