Union Minister of Communications has recently said that the commercial rollout of 5G services could be expected from August-September 2022 onwards.


What is 5G technology and how is it different?

  • 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks. 5G mainly works in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
  • While the low band spectrum has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second). This means that while telcos can use and install it for commercial cellphone users who may not have specific demands for very high speed internet, the low band spectrum may not be optimal for specialised needs of the industry.
  • The mid-band spectrum, on the other hand, offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals. Telcos and companies, which have taken the lead on 5G, have indicated that this band may be used by industries and specialised factory units for building captive networks that can be moulded into the needs of that particular industry.
  • The high-band spectrum offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength. Internet speeds in the high-band spectrum of 5G has been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (giga bits per second), while, in most cases, the maximum internet data speed in 4G has been recorded at 1 Gbps.


Comparison –

  • To understand 5G, it is important to understand what came before it –
      • Broadly, the first generation of mobile technology, 1G, was about voice – the ability to use a phone in a car.
      • The advent of 2G introduced a short-messaging service.
      • 3G technology provided the core network speeds needed to launch smartphones.
      • 4G, with its high data-transfer rates, gave videos with minimal buffering and gave rise to many of the connected devices and services.