Verizon announced a road map to fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology Tuesday morning. The company said it expects to launch field trials of the technology in 2016.
What constitutes a 5G network is currently only generally specified, but Verizon has teamed up with Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco Systems, Ericsson, Nokia, Qualcomm and Samsung to create a Verizon 5G Technology Forum that expects to have two network environments ready for testing in the United States next year.
The International Telecommunications Union has declared that a 5G network must be capable of transferring data at speeds of at least 20 gigabits per second, compared with 4G speeds typically below 1 gigabit per second. South Korea’s Ministry of Science claims that a 5G user would be able to download a 4K movie in 10 seconds or stream two 4K connections at the same time.
According to Tuesday’s press release:
The expected benefits of 5G, as described during Verizon’s inaugural forum, include about 50 times the throughput of current 4G LTE, latency in the single milliseconds, and the ability to handle exponentially more Internet-connected devices to accommodate the expected explosion of the Internet of Everything.
Notice that AT&T, Apple, Google and other technology heavyweights are missing from the Verizon-led group. No competing wireless carrier is included, which is not a surprise, and Apple, which usually goes its own way, is not on the list either. That might have something to do with the inclusion of Samsung and Ericsson, both of which are in major patent litigation with Apple.
As much as a faster mobile network is something we would all welcome, a more important use of the 5G technology is likely to be easing the connections that will be required for the Internet of Things. According to a June report in The Korea Times:
The 5G network will also have a capacity to provide more than 100 megabits-per-second average data transmission to over one million Internet of Things devices within 1 square kilometer. Video content services, including ones that use holography technology, will also be available thanks to the expanded data transmit capacity.
South Korea, by the way, is already developing a 5G network and expects to demonstrate the technology at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, a full two years before a U.S. roll-out of the high-speed mobile network is anticipated.