Super fast mobile streaming is coming to the UK in the next year… maybe. 5G services are currently being tested out around the country, and the first 5G ready smartphones are expected to be released by early 2019.
But what does this all mean – what is 5G and how will it help the average mobile user? In today's blog post we'll tell you everything you need to know about this new mobile network, including:
- What exactly is 5G
- When we will be able to use it in the UK
- Why you should care about 5G services as a mobile gamer
What Is 5G?
5G is short for ‘fifth generation mobile networks' and that's exactly what it is. Currently, most mobile users use 4G to connect to the internet on their mobile devices. In fact, you may even be old enough to remember when we used 3G services (come on, it wasn't that long ago!).
So, essentially, 5G is a supped up network services which will ensure faster mobile use. This includes calls, texts and getting online.
What is Different About 5G?
we've just mentioned, most mobile users in the UK will currently be using a 4G service. Whilst for most people this is completely sufficient, the 5G service will be faster and more capable of handling a large number of users.
Current 4G download speeds average at around 100 megabytes per second, whereas 5G networks have been demonstrated to run at up to 100 times that speed. This means that they will offer a download speed of 1-10 gigabytes per second.
This may all be going over your head. Megabytes and gigabytes are hard to get to grips with so let's put the data into a real-life example:
On a 4G network, it would take you around 10 minutes to download a full HD film. On a 5G network, this would take you about 30 seconds.
How is 5G so Fast?
Existing mobile networks use radio waves to process mobile usage. However, 5G will be much faster as it will utilize parts of the electromagnetic spectrum too. What's more, 5G will also use higher and lower radio frequencies.
These parts of the spectrum aren't currently being used by mobile networks and so they have remained uncluttered. This means that they are able to carry information faster.
When Will 5G Be Available in the UK?
As we've just mentioned, the beauty of 5G is that it utilizes uncluttered radio waves. However, this means that the spectrum is finite (it has a set ability for processing payments.) This means that the spectrum has to be allocated.
5G Spectrum Auctioning
Back in April (2018), the UK communication regulator, Ofcom, auctioned off some of the spectrum Uk mobile operators.
In that round of funding, the operators paid close to £1.4bn – with Vodafone, o2, EE and Three all picking up slices of the action.
5G Trials and Roll Out
When 5G networks were first announced, it was expected that they'd be first put into use in 2020. However, as the competition to be the first mobile operator offering 5G is so fraught, we could expect the new technology to be available much sooner.
Three have already announced that they intend to launch their first 5G services as soon as the middle of next year (2019). At the same time, EE has implemented trial sites in London, which means they could be well on their way to offering the service too.
Will I Need a New Phone?
Of course, all of this planning is all well and good, but it's a bit pointless if no one can access the 5G service on their mobile device. Unfortunately, the switch to 5G does mean you will need to buy a new phone.
At the moment, no 5G-enabled phones are available in the UK market, but this is set to change by early 2019. Qualcomm, the company who produce the chips for most mobile phones, have already created a 5G-ready modem which should be added to all new phone releases next year.
It's likely that Samsung will launch their first 5G smartphone in February 2019, when their Galaxy series of phones is due to have an update. Apple, however, is rumoured to be lagging behind. A 5G iPhone may not come to market until 2020.
How Will 5G Benefit Mobile Gamers?
The biggest benefit for mobile gamers will be the speed that 5G will offer. Not only will 5G enable you to download things quicker but it will also have a much lower latency rate.
Latency is essentially the same thing as lagging. This means that games will be faster to load and you shouldn't experience any delays between the buttons you click and what happens in your favourite pay by phone casino games.
Of course, this isn't really a problem on 4G and the changes will be undetectable as a user. However whilst 4G has a latency of 45 milliseconds, 5G will get this delay down to 1 millisecond. This means your games will run much smoother.
As the new 5G network will be much more competent than 4G, it's likely that the service will bring about new virtual and augmented reality apps.
At the moment, the 4G network struggles to process these HD and data-heavy technologies, yet 5G should manage just fine. This means that the market for VR games is expanding, as more users will have access.
No More Broadband
Ok so this one seems unlikely, yet many 5G enthusiasts have expressed the hopes that 5G will ultimately replace home broadband.
David Dyson, the CEO of Three, has stated that he thinks ‘5G will be a genuine alternative' to broadband, as it will offer a comparable download speed. What's more, as new broadband lines are expensive to fit, it may be a cheaper option too.