The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has agreed on the preliminary definitions for the future 5G standard for mobile networking. A conference in San Diego to decide on the future of the standard was held from June 10th to 18th, where a 12 member delegation sat to draw up the specifications.
In terms of data speeds, the group decided that 5G compliant networks will have to provide data speeds of up to 20Gbps (Gigabits per second), 20 times faster than the 1Gbps specification for 4G. In terms of what this means for actual user speeds, customers should receive speeds in the region of 100 to 1000 Mbps, depending on a number of factors. This is anywhere from a 10 to 100 fold increase over typical 4G speed of 10Mbps.
This big increase in data speeds and bandwidth is expected to open up access to higher resolution 4K video content and holographic technology via mobile networks.
The specification also caters for future internet-of-things technologies. 5G will have to be able to provide more than 100 Mbps average data transmission to over 1 million IoT device within a 1 square kilometre radius.
As for the formal naming scheme, 5G will be called IMT-2020. IMT-2000 was the name for 3G networks and IMT-Advanced for 4G. The group will begin looking for technologies to use for the standard soon.
Korean telecommunications company KT recently unveiled its own 1.17Gbps network, which aims to bridge the gap between 4G and 5G. Its GiGA LTE network makes use of LTE and WiFi broadband network hotspots to offer faster speeds to consumers and this was an ITU consideration to help nations meet the higher bandwidth requirements of 5G. Korea is leading the way with development of 5G technologies and has had a large input into definiting the standard.
The final details for the 5G standard will be confirmed in October, following approval from the 193 ITU member countries. International spectrum for the 5G network should begin distribution in 2019, with commercialized implementations expected sometime in 2020. Although we will be treated to an early demonstration of 5G technology at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.