5G trials already underway in many countries

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Most mobile operators are currently testing 5G solutions, and some are even considering rolling them out, commercially, before 2018 ends.

A new study from IHS Markit found that of those polled, 82 per cent of operators are testing 5G technologies, and out of those that are testing, 12 per cent (all from North America), will have a commercial rollout this year.

For 82 per cent of polled mobile operators, ultra-low latency is the number one driver, followed by decreased cost per bit and increased network capacity.

Radio is the most challenging network development item, it seems, followed by transport and management. The report also claims that it will be mostly used for extreme mobile broadband and real-time gaming.  

“Get ready, 5G is around the corner,” said Stéphane Téral, executive research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit. “5G is going live in North America by the end of 2018, and then in South Korea in 2019. Most operators in Europe, however, aren’t planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later.”

“Every technical aspect that’s related to substantial improvement in network performance -- lower latency, higher capacity, higher bandwidth, higher throughput --while decreasing the cost per bit continues to receive high ratings in our survey,” Téral said. “This is logical because it’s the foundation of the 5G definition.”

“The bottom line is early 5G will be an extension of what we know best: broadband, whether in FWA or eMBB form,” Téral said. “Don’t expect factory automation, tactile low-latency touch and steer, or autonomous driving to be ready on 5G anytime soon despite being touted as the chief 5G use cases.”

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