When 4G was in development, Intel backed the wrong horse by throwing in their lot with the outlier technology WiMAX, which ultimately wound up losing to LTE. The result was that Intel wasn’t able to dive into the exploding mobile market like they really wanted to, and other chipmakers like Qualcomm profited enormously by stepping in to fill the gap.
Intel is much more humble company nowadays. They know that they need to be at the top of their game going into 5G, or they could miss out on the mobile market again. That’s why instead of backing risky or outlier tech, Intel is consulting experts far and wide and working with IEEE and 3GPP standard groups to make sure that they’re on the 5G standard once it’s established.
At the MWC this week, Intel vice president Aicha Evans emphasized that the company is directing their focus away from handsets. “This is not about smartphones and tablets,” said Evans, “this is about devices of the future.” The VP also stated that Intel wasn’t “going for bragging rights.” It’s clear that the company wants to make the most secure, well-informed investment so that they can become a big player in the nascent Internet of Things once 5G goes live. In this spirit, they have announced that they are partnering with AT&T, Verizon, Ericsson, Huawei, ZTE, and several other major players to collaborate with in the development 5G.
5G is expected to be somewhere between 10 and 100 times faster than modern 4G networks, and this has the potential to radically affect a sweeping portion of the technological industry. Although no standard for the network has been agreed upon as of yet, Verizon and AT&T are in the process of field testing 5G. However, commercial availability isn’t expected until 2018 or later.