At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the GSMA published a report outlining the mobile industry’s collective vision and expectations for the 5G era. The new study, ‘The 5G Era: Age of Boundless Connectivity and Intelligent Automation’, is based on an extensive survey of 750 operator CEOs and other industry stakeholders. The GSMA forecasts that commercial 5G networks will begin to be widely deployed at the start of the next decade and, by 2025, will provide coverage to a third of the world’s population. 5G connections are forecast to reach 1.1 billion by 2025, accounting for approximately one in eight mobile connections worldwide by this time.
“The 5G era will usher in innovations that enable richer, smarter and more convenient living and working, making possible a huge array of new applications, everything from sensor-driven smart parking to holographic conference calls,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “5G is an opportunity to create an agile, purpose-built network tailored to the different needs of citizens and the economy. But it is vital that all stakeholders work together to ensure that 5G is successfully standardised, regulated and brought to market.”
The new report sets out five goals for the 5G era, which can only be achieved if the industry is able to unify around a common technology standard and agree a set of harmonised spectrum bands:
- Provide boundless connectivity for all: 5G networks will co-exist with 4G networks and alternative network technologies to deliver a high-speed, reliable and secure broadband experience;
- Deliver future networks innovatively and with optimal economics: All stakeholders will strive to cost-effectively deliver improved networks, relying on a combination of mainstream and alternative technologies, using both licensed and unlicensed spectrum;
- Accelerate the digital transformation of industry verticals: The mobile industry will provide the networks and platforms to drive the digitisation and automation of industrial practices and processes;
- Transform the mobile broadband experience: 5G networks will provide an enhanced broadband experience of up to 1 Gbps and below 10 milliseconds latency, and provide the platform for cloud- and artificial intelligence-based services; and
- Drive growth in new use cases for massive IoT and critical communications services: 5G networks will support the massive rollout of intelligent IoT nodes for a multitude of scenarios, including critical communications services