International expansion of 5G: an unstoppable innovation

February 12, 2021

In 2019 China irrupted on mobile industry. The telecom China Mobile, the world’s largest operator, developed a new form of connectivity known as 5G. According to the statistics, this was going to be an unprecedented change for the telecommunications’ industry. The operator ended 2020 with a total of more than 165 million 5G subscribers, but this technology was going to be global in a few months later.

In June 2019, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued licenses for the launch of 5G networks all over the country. Those 5G permits were granted to the four telecom giants (China Mobile, Unicom, China Telecom and China Broadcasting Network) to expand beyond its borders. At this time, large cities as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen had a full 5G coverage. Wu Hequan, member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, estimates an amount of 1.7 million base stations of 5G by the end of 2021.

Meanwhile, PWC affirmed that 5G still remains issues. By the end of 2019, 5G network coverage already reached 75% penetration. According to PWC, the device penetration was much lower than the expected, just 8% of them includes 5G technology.

Two years from now, it is expected to reach over 80% of penetration of 5G availed at home or at work. U.S. is living a huge change on telecommunication and technology industry. The majority of mobiles networks includes a 5G network, based on data from new statistics called “5G Mobile Index” by PWC. 5G is becoming a reality in Latin America too. According to experts, Latin America might reach over 15 million connections by 2022.

This innovation has not been developed exclusively in the U.S. or China; the European Union is making an agreement on expanding 5G coverage around every country of the EU. As in China or in the U.S., the new generation of mobile phones includes 5G technology, 5G network is gaining importance in the telecom industry. Nonetheless, according to the telecom China Mobile, “it will take a few years, 5G won’t achieve scale in the next years”.

5G expansion is very expensive, it implies having a strong mobile market, also not every device is 5G-enabled, so replacing them will make it take longer to implement this innovation. The network quality availability and the coverage is growing more and more, it’s developing gradually, and it’s difficult to anticipate the future impact on the technology industry, but there is no doubt, the change in connectivity is unstoppable. As Hays said, 5G needs two factors to get global: the laborious installation and the difficulties with deployment of 5G cell sites, among others. It’s usual that carriers leveraging dynamic on sharing content with LTE, the purpose is to accelerate coverage reach. 

Based on that, the 5G download speed achieved a new maximum record on a common network for a single user. Telstra, Qualcomm Technology and Ericsson groups developed a “New Radio data” that can exceed the previous 4.2 Gbps download speed. Telstra Group Executive Networks Group and IT Nikos Katinakis declared: “it’s just the beginning, we live in an era of increased demand for higher connectivity”.

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