10,000 Mbps! Can you imagine the impact this kind of speed would have on our world! When I first heard of 100mbps I believed that once this truly happens the Internet would be as fast as it can get. I mean how much faster could we really go from there? At the MWC 2015 this idea of 5G hitting speeds 100x faster than what has still not been fully realized was introduced. To me this changes everything. The speeds are so fast that most of my local hardware can’t even handle it. So what are the implications? For one now you can stream blu-ray! Imagine downloading a 40 GB movie in under thirty seconds. What more could you want?! The concept of downloading would soon be obsolete. Within thirty seconds you would be able to watch any kind of HD content to your heart’s content. In fact streaming would be better. All the quality without worrying about storage space. So what then? The bandwidth would be free for so much more. In a world of autonomous driving all those traffic networks won’t be just managing data transfer but managing human transfer as well! I believe this is what 5G is really all about. To enable the 50 billion internet connections between not just people but things. Machines talking to each other. All those autonomous vehicles would need to be network enabled. They would be processing huge amounts of data in real time perhaps faster than the speed of our nervous system. I guess that is why they would be more efficient and safer than human driven vehicles.
On the dark side though industrial espionage and data hacking are going to get to a whole new level. My entire life’s work is under 500 GB. Imagine someone hacking my system! They could clone my entire hard drive in about five minutes. Your anti-virus software was not updated. Oops! Too bad. You were five minutes too slow. All your data is gone. Imagine what a Sony hack would look like in a 5G world. Perhaps the greatest challenge in the 5G world would be security. Even individuals would need industry grade security systems to survive here.
Last but not least, it’s not just the speed of your network but the speed of all the hardware that you own as well. Your LAN works at 100Mbps. All hardware you may be using is capped to handle speeds of not more than 100Mbps. So while the network capacity may get there sooner. The corresponding hardware upgrades by individuals and entities may not happen as fast. Whatever the case maybe, 5G holds exciting possibilities. Security and privacy would need to evolve exponentially because such power in the wrong hands would be able to do colossal damage very quickly.
So are you ready to embrace 5G? Industry experts expect the earliest rollouts to not happen before 2020. In the meanwhile you should see HSPA like upgrades in the near future to LTE that would bump up speeds to over 100 mbps. In any case the journey from 100 mbps to 10,000 mbps is going to take it’s time as the entire ecosystem will need to evolve to handle such speeds. But this brings interesting innovation possibilities for mobile network providers. Enabling such a world would be life changing and those who take the lead in creating such a world will reap the benefits in terms of brand preference and brand affinity. Although this is still an evolution within the dumb pipe domain of telco providers, not too different from the 3G and 4G evolution but getting it right, quickly and effectively definitely gives telco players something to shout about combined with other OTT offerings they can bundle with. This is crucial to be able to charge a premium otherwise with current trends in pricing, all this investment would be harder monetize with just a network upgrade but I guess that’s a discussion for another blog post!Feature image by Evan Leeson used under Creative Commons 2.0 License