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The Future of 5G Technology

Steve Koenig, Sr. Director, Market Research , Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) Development and Deployment of 5G Network study explores 5G as a catalyst for the latest innovative consumer technologies – from smart cities to self-driving cars and digital healthcare – to deliver even broader, more meaningful benefits to our everyday lives. The improved networks will elevate the standard currently offered by 4G LTE networks, bringing higher bandwidth, lower latency and much faster speeds to consumers’ mobile devices. Considering the wealth of innovation unleashed through today’s 4G LTE world, it is inspiring to imagine what will be possible with 5G.

Along with artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, 5G networks will foster innumerable advances when they arrive in 2020. Once complete, 5G will be 100 times faster and five times more responsive than today's networks, accelerating both business and entertainment capabilities. Not only will 5G networks transform our economy, but they will also prompt significant improvements for industrial, automotive, telecom and health care industries. Vehicle infotainment and telematics systems will thrive on 5G’s extremely high data rate with very low latency. Health care industries will be transformed by 5G’s ability to seamlessly and reliably stream live video transmissions of surgeries. And when powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G’s dependable and secure network, exciting industrial solutions are possible. 

One of the keys to 5G’s game-changing capabilities is the use of a wider array of spectrum bands including millimeter wave radio frequencies (mmWaves). Major carriers including AT&T and Verizon have conducted trials in more than ten cities, and Sprint had 5G demos during the 2016 Copa América soccer tournament. The Federal Communications Commission is also making relevant spectrum available for operators to deploy high-speed broadband wireless networks and investing in broadband for small cell deployment to roll out 5G services in communities across the country.

5G will act as a catalyst for innovation across the United States economy, and will deliver immediate benefits to consumers through enhanced mobile broadband. By 2019, expect the iterations of 5G networks to work alongside existing 4G LTE networks to make enhanced mobile broadband happen. The first deployment of 5G has already been announced with Verizon’s plan to launch commercial 5G fixed wireless in up to five markets in 2018.

Fueled by the power of 5G, consumers’ mobile experience will be transformed into a feeling of almost limitless bandwidth. So, while it’s inspiring to think about smart cities in a 5G world, I for one am excited for a world where mobile calls almost never drop, and music and video stream flawlessly.

CTA’s Development and Deployment of 5G Network study is available for members and for purchase here.

Steve Koenig is senior director of market research at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies and which owns and produces CES® – The Global Stage for Innovation. Follow him on Twitter @KoenigSteve