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5G is the marketing term for upcoming mobile technologies that will offer very high data transmission rates.


ITU has divided 5G network services into three categories: enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) or handsets, Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC), which includes industrial applications and autonomous vehicles, and Massive Machine Type Communications (MMTC) or sensors.[1] Initial 5G deployments will focus on eMBB[2] and fixed wireless,[3] which makes use of many of the same capabilities as eMBB. 5G will use spectrum in the existing LTE frequency range (600 MHz to 6 GHz) and also in Millimeter wave bands (24-86 GHz). 5G technologies have to satisfy ITU IMT-2020 requirements and/or 3GPP Release 15; while IMT-2020 specifies data rates of 20 Gbps, 5G speed in sub-6 GHz bands is similar to 4G.[4][5]


5G systems in line with IMT-2020 specifications,[6] are expected to provide enhanced device- and network-level capabilities, tightly coupled with intended applications. The following eight parameters are key capabilities for IMT-2020 5G:

Capability Description 5G Target Usage Scenario
Peak data rate Maximum achievable data rate 20 Gbit/s eMBB
User experienced data rate Achievable data rate across coverage area 100 Mbit/s eMBB
Latency Radio network contribution to packet travel time 1 ms URLLC
Mobility Maximum speed for handoff and QoS requirements 500 km/h eMBB/URLLC
Connection density Total number of devices per unit area 106/km2 MMTC
Energy efficiency Data sent/received per unit energy consumption (by device or network) Equal to 4G eMBB
Spectrum efficiency Throughput per wireless bandwidth and per network cell 3-4x 4G eMBB
Area traffic capacity Total traffic across coverage area 10 (Mbit/s)/m2 eMBB

Note that 5G as defined by 3GPP includes spectrum below 6GHz, with performance closer to 4G, the 3GPP definition is commonly used.


Development of 5G is being led by companies[7] such as Intel[8] and Qualcomm[9] for modem technology and Nokia,[10] Huawei,[11] Ericsson,[12] ZTE,[13] and Samsung[14] for infrastructure.

Worldwide commercial launch is expected in 2020. Numerous operators have demonstrated 5G as well, including Korea Telecom for the 2018 Winter Olympics;[15][16] in the United States, the four major carriers have all announced deployments: AT&T's[17] millimeter wave commercial deployments in 2018, Verizon's 5G fixed wireless launches in four U.S. cities and millimeter-wave deployments,[18] Sprint's launch in the 2.5 GHz band, and T-Mobile's 600 MHz 5G launch in 30 cities.[19] Vodafone performed the first UK trials in April 2018 using mid-band spectrum,[20] and China Telecom's initial 5G buildout in 2018 will use mid-band spectrum as well.[21]

Beyond mobile operator networks, 5G is also expected to be widely utilized for private networks with applications in industrial IoT, enterprise networking, and critical communications.


In order to support increased throughput requirements of 5G, large quantities of new spectrum (5G NR frequency bands) have been allocated to 5G, particularly in mmWave bands,[22] for example, in July 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States freed up vast amounts of bandwidth in underutilised high-band spectrum for 5G. The Spectrum Frontiers Proposal (SFP) doubled the amount of millimeter-wave (mmWave) unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz and created four times the amount of flexible, mobile-use spectrum the FCC had licensed to date.[23] In March 2018, European Union lawmakers agreed to open up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bands by 2020.[24]

Mobile networks[edit]

Initial 5G launches in the sub-6 GHz band will not diverge architecturally from existing LTE 4G infrastructure. Leading network equipment suppliers are Nokia,[10] Huawei,[11] and Ericsson.[12]

5G modems[edit]

Traditional cellular modem suppliers have significant investment in the 5G modem market. Qualcomm announced its X50 5G Modem in October 2016,[25] and in November 2017, Intel announced its XMM8000 series of 5G modems, including the XMM8060 modem, both of which have expected productization dates in 2019.[8][26] In February 2018, Huawei announced the Balong 5G01 terminal device[27] with an expected launch date for 5G-enabled mobile phones of 2018[28] and Mediatek announced its own 5G solutions targeted at 2020 production.[29] Samsung is also working on the Exynos 5G modem, but has not announced a production date.[30]


New radio frequencies[edit]

The air interface defined by 3GPP for 5G is known as New Radio (NR), and the specification is subdivided into two frequency bands, FR1 (<6 GHz) and FR2 (mmWave),[31] each with different capabilities.

Frequency range 1 (< 6 GHz)[edit]

The maximum channel bandwidth defined for FR1 is 100 MHz. Note that beginning with Release 10, LTE supports 100 MHz carrier aggregation (five x 20 MHz channels.) Both FR1 and LTE support a maximum modulation format of 256-QAM, meaning 5G does not achieve significant throughput improvements relative to LTE in the sub-6 GHz bands without its own carrier aggregation.

Frequency range 2 (24–86 GHz)[edit]

The maximum channel bandwidth defined for FR2 is 400 MHz, with two-channel aggregation supported in 3GPP Release 15, the maximum phy rate potentially supported by this configuration is approximately 40 Gbit/s.5G Networks. In Europe, 24.25-27.5 GHz is the proposed frequencies range. [32]

Massive MIMO antennas[edit]

Massive MIMO (multiple input and multiple output Antennas) increases sector throughput and capacity density using large numbers of Antenna and Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO). Each antenna is individually-controlled and may embed radio transceiver components. Nokia claims 5x capacity increase for a 64-Tx/64-Rx Antennas) system. The term “massive MIMO” was first coined by Nokia Bell Labs researcher Dr. Thomas L. Marzetta in 2010. and has been launched in 4G networks, such as Softbank in Japan.

Edge computing[edit]

Main article: Mobile edge computing
Edge computing is a method of optimizing cloud computing systems "by taking the control of computing applications, data, and services away from some central nodes (the "core area"). In a 5G network it would promote faster speeds and low latency data transfer on edge devices.[33]

Small cell[edit]

Main article: Small cell


Main article: Beamforming

Radio convergence[edit]

One perceived benefit of the transition to 5G is the convergence of multiple networking functions to achieve cost, power and complexity reductions. LTE has targeted convergence with Wi-Fi via various efforts, such as License Assisted Access (LAA) and LTE-WLAN Aggregation (LWA), but the differing capabilities of cellular and Wi-Fi have limited the scope of convergence. However, significant improvement in cellular performance specifications in 5G, combined with migration from Distributed Radio Access Network (D-RAN) to Cloud- or Centralized-RAN (C-RAN) and rollout of cellular small cells can potentially narrow the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks in dense and indoor deployments. Radio convergence could result in sharing ranging from aggregation of cellular and Wi-Fi channels to the use of a single silicon device for multiple radio access technologies.

5G Networks[edit]

A variety of operators have announced 5G trials and network launches. (Comprehensive list of 5G networks.)

United States[edit]

US operators launch plans fall into two distinct categories: Fixed wireless and Mobile. Fixed wireless typically services residential broadband customers with speeds in excess of 1 Gbit/s using mmWave bands. Mobile launch will use sub-6 GHz spectrum in traditional LTE or newly-allocated bands with similar performance to LTE.

Fixed Wireless Mobile
Operator Launch Date Bands Launch Geographies Launch Date Bands Launch Geographies
AT&T TBD[34] 28/39 GHz[35][36] Trials: Austin, Waco, South Bend, Kalamazoo End 2018[37] TBD[38] Dallas, Waco, Atlanta (12 cities total)[39]
Verizon 2H 2018[40] 28 GHz 3-5 cities including Sacramento (2H18) 1H 2019[41] TBD[42] TBD
Sprint N/A N/A[43] 1H 2019[44] 2.5 GHz Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Washington, New York, Phoenix, Kansas City
T-Mobile End 2018 28/39 GHz[45] Trials: Bellevue, WA[46] End 2018[47] 600 MHz Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas, Dallas (30 cities total)
Dish Networks N/A N/A 2020[48] 600 MHz
Charter Communications End 2018 28 GHz[49] Orlando, Reno, Clarksville TN, Columbus, Bakersfield and Grand Rapids

United Kingdom[edit]

EE, a large mobile network operator in the UK, plans to trial a 5G network in October 2018. A small number of businesses and homes in East London Tech City will take part in the trial.[50] BT Group, who owns EE, had previously said during a presentation in May 2018 that they plan to launch a commercial 5G product "within 18 months".[51] The UK first plans to deploy 5G to London and other major cities (e.g, Bristol, Birmingham) as a starting point, and then it will establish a 5G network in other major cities. The next step will be for small- and medium-sized towns.[52]

South Korea[edit]

South Korea successfully launched the trial of 5G showcases during the 2018 Winter Olympics.[15][16]

Fixed Wireless Mobile
Operator Launch Date Bands Launch Geographies Launch Date Bands Launch Geographies
KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom By no later than the middle of 2019 T.B.D Seoul, Incheon, Dae-Joen, Dae-Gu, Pusan T.B.D T.B.D T.B.D

South Korea's three major mobile companies which are KT, LG U+, and SK Telecom, agreed to collaborate on a single nationwide 5G infrastructure by no later than the middle of 2019. Previously South Korea's three mobile companies constructed their 3G or 4G network independently. South Korea Government recommended sharing some of their infrastructure (examples: 3G/4G base-station and mobile tower) where it is possible. However, South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT analysed that 5G requires "small cell" base stations, which is expected to about 8~12 times of more significant numbers of stations to cover the current coverage of 4G base stations. It potentially involves a lot of infrastructure cost and redundant investments.[53] South Korea agreed to collaborate with China and Japan for the 5G standardisation.[54]


To enable the 5G Mobile service, the new spectrum bands were assigned by ACMA, the spectrum in the 3.6 GHz and 5.6 GHz were approved to use for new 5G service in metropolitan and regional Australia from the end of 2018. However, the millimeter wave bands (24-86 GHz) are still under consideration for the allocation of 5G mobile services.[55]


On June 7, 2018, a Philippine telecommunications company, Globe Telecom announced its plans to adopt 5G (with a partnership with Huawei) and its slated to available commercially by the 2nd quarter of 2019.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Huawei 5G Network Architecture Whitepaper" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "5G Smartphones Expected to Come Out within This Year". 
  3. ^ "Are you Ready for 5G?". 
  4. ^ Dave. "No "Material Difference Between 5G & LTE"". wirelessone.news. Retrieved 2018-06-20. 
  5. ^ Dave. "5G NR Only 25% to 50% Faster, Not Truly a New Generation". wirelessone.news. Retrieved 2018-06-20. 
  6. ^ "IMT Vision – Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "Top Companies leading 5G Development". 
  8. ^ a b "Intel Introduces Portfolio of Commercial 5G New Radio Modems". 
  9. ^ "Qualcomm: Our 5G Vision Closer Reality than Ever". 
  10. ^ a b "Unleashing the potential of 5G". 
  11. ^ a b "5G, The Road to a Super-Connected World". 
  12. ^ a b "5G open for business". 
  13. ^ "ZTE 5G". 
  14. ^ "Samsung 5G Vision" (PDF). 
  15. ^ a b Seong-Mok Oh (February 12, 2018). "KT showcases 5G innovation at the Olympics in PyeongChang". ITU News. Retrieved 2 March 2018. 
  16. ^ a b Kang, Seung-woo (20 February 2018). "KT showcasing 5G technology at PyeongChang Games". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2 March 2018. 
  17. ^ "AT&T to Launch Mobile 5G in 2018". about.att.com. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  18. ^ Gartenberg, Chaim (29 November 2017). "Verizon says it will have 5G service in five cities by the end of next year". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  19. ^ "T-Mobile Building Out 5G in 30 Cities This Year…and That's Just the Start – Company Announcement - FT.com". markets.ft.com. Retrieved 2018-02-28. 
  20. ^ "Vodafone UK first to test new 5G spectrum across a live network". 
  21. ^ "China Telecom Eyes 2M+ Base Stations for 5G | Light Reading". Light Reading. Retrieved 2018-03-15. 
  22. ^ "5G Spectrum Recommendations" (PDF). 
  23. ^ "FCC Spectrum Frontier Proposal | NYU WIRELESS". NYU WIRELESS. 2016-07-15. Retrieved 2017-05-18. 
  24. ^ Foo Yun Chee (3 March 2018). "EU countries, lawmakers strike deal to open up spectrum for 5G". Reuters. Retrieved 3 March 2018. 
  25. ^ "Snapdragon X50 5G Modem". 
  26. ^ "Global OEMs Select Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G NR Modem Family for Mobile Device Launches in 2019". 
  27. ^ "Huawei Releases First 5G Customer-premises Equipment". 
  28. ^ "Huawei unveils its first 5G chip in a challenge to Qualcomm and Intel". 
  29. ^ "MediaTek and China Mobile Announce Collaboration to Develop 5G Devices for Pre-Commercial Launch in 2019". 
  30. ^ "Samsung Electronics Aims to Change 5G Modem Chip Market with Exynos 5G". 
  31. ^ "5G/NR - FR/Operating Bandwidth". 
  32. ^ "What frequency bands will be used for 5G in the UK?". 
  33. ^ "IT Needs to Start Thinking About 5G and Edge Cloud Computing". 7 February 2018. 
  34. ^ "AT&T sours on 5G fixed wireless broadband". 
  35. ^ "AT&T, Nokia complete 39 GHz trial with DirecTV Now service". 
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  37. ^ "AT&T plans to launch mobile 5G in a dozen cities by late 2018". 
  38. ^ "AT&T's Mobile 5G Plan Leaves as Many Questions as Answers". 
  39. ^ "AT&T Drives Path to Nationwide Mobile 5G With Multi-Gigabit Speeds". 
  40. ^ "Verizon aims to launch 5G wireless services in new geographies next year". 
  41. ^ "'We frankly don't care' if T-Mobile and Sprint merge, Verizon CEO says". 
  42. ^ "Verizon confident it can deploy 5G using 4G sites". 
  43. ^ "Sprint Says No to mmWave, Yes to Mobile 5G". 
  44. ^ "Sprint Announces New York City, Phoenix and Kansas City Among First to Experience Sprint 5G". 
  45. ^ "T-Mobile to Build but not necessarily sell 5G in 30 Cities this Year". 
  46. ^ "T-Mobile US tests 5G at 28 GHz with Nokia, Intel". 
  47. ^ "T-Mobile Building Out 5G in 30 Cities This Year …and That's Just the Start". 
  48. ^ "Dish Could Spend Up to $1B on NB-IoT Network, $10B on Nationwide 5G". 
  49. ^ "Charter seeks STA for more 5G tests, this time with Ericsson gear at 28 GHz in Los Angeles". 
  50. ^ McCaskill, Steve (June 6, 2018). "EE to switch on 'UK's first' 5G trial in London". TechRadar. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  51. ^ Hall, Chris (May 16, 2018). "BT will be first to launch UK 5G in 2019". Pocket-lint. Retrieved 6 June 2018. 
  52. ^ "5G Coverage and Networks". 5g.co.uk. 
  53. ^ JEREMY HORWITZ (April 11, 2018). "South Korean carriers agree to build single 5G network, saving money and time". venturebeat.com News. Retrieved 3 June 2018. 
  54. ^ Dylan Bushell-Embling (June 6, 2018). "China, Japan and S Korea to work together on 5G standardisation". Telecom Asia.com News. Retrieved 7 June 2018. 
  55. ^ Communications, c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Department of. "Government approves auction process for 5G spectrum". www.minister.communications.gov.au. 
  56. ^ "Globe Brings 5G Technology to the Philippines". Globe Newsroom. Philippines: Globe Telecom. 7 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
4th Generation (4G)
Mobile Telephony Generations Succeeded by