AT&T just announced that they are ready to offer 5G network service among its consumers across 19 cities. With the on-going competition among telecommunications companies, AT&T has the leg up. Meanwhile, Verizon has the handset devices to connect to the network but lack the infrastructure.
“AT&T mobile 5G service is now live in parts of 7 more cities, including Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, and San Jose. There are now 19 cities across the nation where AT&T is the only carrier to offer mobile 5G service to businesses and consumers, well ahead of our competition,” the company said in a press release.
5G, if you’re not aware of, is the next wave of technological advancement in terms of speed and efficiency with delivering data from point A to point B. It passes way beyond what the current 4G/LTE has to offer with speeds up to 1GB/s. This isn’t only great for people who love to surf online, but it also opened a lot of doors industries to flourish in the cyberspace. It’s so fast that the technology was used to perform the first remote surgery in China.
The thing with 5G is that the new network requires new hardware. Telecommunications companies will need to build new infrastructure, as well as, new receivers for mobile devices to work under this new connectivity. There’s no point in having the latest model if it can’t connect to a readily available 5G network or having readily available infrastructure but no device that can connect to it.
Verizon, just last week, announced that it has started distributing its 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis, which are the first two among 30 cities that it plans to distribute the technology within the year. However, it is important to note that Verizon’s connectivity is minimal, even if you’re in Chicago or Minneapolis, coverage span only reaches the general downtown areas and certain landmarks, like Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium and Chicago neighborhoods Gold Coast, River North, and Old Town.
On the other hand, even though AT&T has the most available hardware to distribute the 5G network, there’s aren’t many available mobile devices that are available in the market to utilize the technology primarily for consumers under AT&T.
As of the moment, Verizon sets its eyes on providing exclusive 5G connectivity to Samsung’s Galaxy S10, which doesn’t have a firm release date but is said to be expected in the “first half of 2019,” where time’s ticking down on, and LG’s V50, which is supposed to be also available for Sprint users. Also, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold is also to come with their version of the 5G-able device, but there’s no carrier announcement for that yet.
However, it’s not a dead end for people who want to experience the 450mbps minimum to 1gbps download speeds. Last summer, Motorola launched its handset that’s ready for 5G networks, the Moto Z3 and paired with the 5G Moto Mod, which was just made available last week. But this pairing results in extreme limitations also. The mod will need to be placed near the Verizon 5G nodes to connect to the service successfully. Once there’s a barrier between the phone and the mod, you’ll launch back to LTE. It will also cost customers an additional $10 a month to use the 5G network.
Looking from it from afar, AT&T has a better infrastructure that can distribute 5G across devices but Verizon’s leading with more devices loyal to their carrier. If there are any other available devices compatible with 5G, Verizon’s 5G nodes still lack the efficiency and convenience that we usually have with standard 4G/LTE connection.
Overall, it’s a step towards public use of the 5G network, but there still are many hurdles that telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T, among others that need to be conquered. As expected, the revolutionary 5G tech would require an overhaul in the current system to accommodate it, and hardware is most likely to be the most costly and time-consuming. Because if you want to use the 5G connectivity, you’re going to expect to buy a new phone and pay higher bills, which is relatively worth it compared to the benefits from 5G.
Minimó: Innovating The Way We Travel Through 5G
Luca De Meo, the president of SEAT, a Spanish automobile manufacturer, said that innovating the current model of smart cars to 5G technology would pave the way to autonomous driving at a conference in Barcelona last Monday.
5G provides current smart cars the technology of giving vehicles up-to-date information on road conditions and other relevant data in a timely fashion.
“We need to experiment and look at functionalities and hopefully the market will say, ‘OK, I want to buy a car like this because it can prevent an accident or it can see around the corner and I value that and I [will] pay for it,’” De Meo said.
He said connecting a car with a passenger’s mobile phone, external infrastructure or retailers, could lead to billions of possible transactions.
De Meo told Reuters, “I think [personally] the automotive industry will play a big role in justifying the investment, so [that] we will be one of the big customers, but we need to be creative.” He also noted that the market is expected to be worth as much as $95 billion in 2020.
5G is the next generation of mobile broadband that will eventually replace, or at least augment, your 4G LTE connection. With 5G, you’ll see exponentially faster download and upload speeds. Latency, or the time it takes devices to communicate with each other wireless networks, will also drastically decrease according to Digital Trends.
Basically, 5G will be able to connect various devices from a single base station, which is a more practical and cost-effective solution to the depleting resources available in the current 4G LTE connection.
While in the convention, SEAT unveiled its new concept car, the Minimó, a 100% electric vehicle that has built-in 5G technology that will enable the vehicle to communicate wirelessly with other vehicles and city/urban infrastructure, as “a first step towards achieving cooperative, autonomous driving.”
The Minimó is a hyperconnected vehicle that provides a convenient and smooth digital user experience based on the “Digital Access” key and wireless Android Auto on the car display without users having to connect their smartphone to any cable or socket,” said Meo.
In addition, with the Google Assistant on Android Auto, users can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while using their voice to stay connected, easily get answers, manage tasks and control media.”
The Minimó is currently undergoing testing on the streets of Barcelona, in partnership with Telefónica. Seat says that further development of the concept will be undertaken with input from city councils and potential users, to help shape the direction and focus of the project.
5G Connectivity is becoming closer and closer to reality
Probably one of the most exciting news about the internet today, the 5G connection, has sparked significant interest over time. The countdown to the 5G revolution has begun, and the explosion of connected devices, such as television, speakers, mobile phones, and security systems among others, is only going to intensify.
It will undoubtedly disrupt the way we live and work positively. As the next big thing in the journey of digital transformation, 5G will have an enormous impact on humanity. It will go beyond mobile broadband and impact self-sustaining modern human establishments like robotics, smart cities and self-driving cars, and foster innovation in critical sectors such as education, agriculture, and health care.
This is possible because of the low latency capabilities of 5G. With current networks, it takes approximately 100 milliseconds for information to travel across a network. This speed is very satisfying to the users, but there is still a lag that makes it impossible to communicate in real time. With 5G, that latency is expected to be going down to 1 millisecond.
However, there are a lot of obstacles trials we need to overcome. Obstacles such as cost and regulatory oversight will need to be resolved before the low latency capabilities of 5G can open up a new world of possibilities. When we talk about investment the communication service providers are going to need billions of dollars in infrastructure to enable 5G. And this included the base stations, fiber optic cables, and a lot more antennas, all of which must be in place before 5G can be widely adopted.
Additionally, governments and regulatory bodies will need to monitor advances and make it easier for telecommunication companies to invest in upgrading technology. They will need to enact policies to enable new revenue models, like data monetization and content management.
By the year 2020, this has been made the year in which 5G will become commercially viable. As the world gears up for 5G implementation, translating the 5G promise into real impactful human experiences remains the challenge. And we all know that the developed cities are the first to experience 5G, as rural areas currently lack the infrastructure to support the network, and we are not counting here the months we need a year to develop and implement before the whole world is connected. The future of this dream connection depends on the successful rollout and implementation of 5G; once we are there the massive revolutionary will experience the world.
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