An exhibitor points to a screen displaying 5G spectrums during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona March 5, 2015.
An exhibitor points to a screen displaying 5G spectrums during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona March 5, 2015. Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

Tech writers and experts are still clamouring about the recently concluded Mobile World Congress (MWC) and how the “road to 5G” became its central theme.

Devindra Hardawar of Engadget wrote that it’s just normal for brands to do so since the global rollout for 5G is just right around the corner. 5G, or the next-level, ultra-fast Internet speed, is expected to be utilised by top telco firms of giant economies in 2020.

"Expect 2016 to be the year when all of the talk around 5G starts to feel like more than hype. It seemed as if the big tech companies couldn't shut up about it at Mobile World Congress this week—and for good reason," said Hardawar.

At the Mobile World Congress, mobile manufacturers, network carriers and app developers talked about the changes this next generation-wireless network could bring. Among which are global partnerships of giant tech and telco firms to become one of the first 5G users in the world.

Intel, for instance, announced that it has inked a 5G roadmap-focused deal with Verizon, Ericsson and AT&T to avoid committing the same mistake during its 4G rollout in the end of the last decade.

Australia’s Telstra, on the other hand, launched a 1 Gbps network and a compatible hotspot device as part of it plans of building a robust 5G network in 2020. US-based network enhancer provider 5B AR z International (OTCQB: BARZ) said that it plans to assist telco firms in alleviating their respective infrastructure-related problems through its plug-and-play device as it expands globally through 2020.

Stephen Shankland of CNET said that 5G was every brand’s concern at the MWC in Barcelona. "You can hear promises of 5G-powered drones, watch 5G toy cars race around, see demonstrations of 5G gory details like beamforming and millimetre-wave radio (don't ask), and use virtual-reality headsets to create virtual art with another person linked over 5G." He also suggested that this underlined the reality that the competition in the race to 5G utilization has gone to serious from just mere plans as they were several years back.

The 5G market and its many advantages

As reported by Gartner, the Internet of Things will become a gigantic, indispensable market by 2020 the moment 5G technology is commercialised. By then, it is expected to grow to 21 billion devices generating US$1.7 trillion (AU$2.3 trillion) amount of revenues annually. For Cisco, however, this is quite conservative, as it thinks the market could even expand up to 50 billion devices with an annual revenue of US$8 trillion (AU$10.9 trillion).

However, all this would remain mere conjectures and outlook until 5G becomes real, commercially available and viable.

5G technology is so fast that it could efficiently run a 100 percent digital manufacturing operations. It is also said to be capable of making driverless car’s technology close to perfection, which means they can hit the roads without causing accidents or road-related mishaps. According to Ericsson, 5G has data rates of 10 Gbps, enough speed to download an HD movie in seconds. It said that it would open doors to more technologies and would improve existing ones in mobile, desktop, or how everything connects and operates through the Internet.

"5G is the next step in the evolution of mobile communication and will be a key component of the Networked Society. To enable connectivity for a wide range of applications and use cases, the capabilities of 5G wireless access must extend far beyond those of previous generations. These capabilities include very high achievable data rates, very low latency and ultra-high Reliability,” the tech company said in a white paper titled 5G Radio Access.

In a nutshell, even small brands will be encouraged to join the 5G utilisation bandwagon as years go by. The giant brands commanding the industry will be a driving force to its propagation. However, the high-speed Internet technology will only be available initially to First World countries, so those who live outside them have no choice but to wait while they make do with 4G LTE.