Although 5G won’t replace 4G in the U.S. until the early 2020s, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile were promoting the 5G connectivity they plan to launch in at least part of their networks this year.
Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg cited what he called the “Eight Currencies” or benefits of 5G during his CES keynote. These included speed and throughput (peak data rates of 10 gigabits per second and mobile data volumes of 10 terabits per second per square kilometer); mobility; connected devices and IoT (up to one million devices supported by 5G in a square kilometer); energy efficiency (5G network equipment and devices consume only 10 percent of the energy consumed by 4G network equipment) and latency; and reliability (5G will be more than 99.999 percent reliable).
John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, discussed the recent launch of its 5G Evolution network. AT&T is working on 5G across hospitals and stadiums, including signing a deal with Rush University Medical Center and the Rush System for Health in Chicago. Dr. Shafiq Rab, senior vice president and CIO, said, “The technology will enhance access to care, even from long distances, while also helping to decrease costs and improve efficiency. Imagine a doctor performing a virtual visit with a patient while downloading an entire MRI scan within seconds.”
At CES, T-Mobile — in partnership with Ericsson and Intel — concluded a live data and video test of its commercial network using the 600MHz frequency band. T-Mobile also completed a 5G video call on other bands (28GHz, and 39GHz), showing low-band, mid-band and millimeter wave can be used to deliver next-generation services. T-Mobile says, its rivals, AT&T and Verizon have only demonstrated testing of 5G services using very high frequency millimeter wavelength spectrum.
During CES, Sprint announced it completed a 5G data call across the 2.5GHz spectrum on a live commercial network in partnership with Nokia and Qualcomm. The test streamed YouTube videos, conducted Skype audio and video calls, and sent and received instant messages.
Samsung CEO Hyun Suk Kim confirmed at CES the company will debut its first 5G phone for Verizon in Q2 and two 5G phones with AT&T this year. The company teased its offerings by enclosing a 5G prototype behind glass at the company’s CES booth.
At CES, the entire 5G ecosystem — the backbone for transportation, VR, sports tech and digital health — came together. As Verizon’s Vestberg concluded, “5G will change everything. 5G is the promise of so much more than what we have seen from wireless technology.”
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