5G is the next generation of wireless technology. A lot of people have been looking forward to it but it may take longer than we think. A number of leading mobile carriers such as T-Mobile are already running into many challenges as they try to upgrade their networks to 5G. There has already been a lot of talk about 5G in the telecoms industry.
A few months ago, it looked like carriers were well on course to provide the technology this year but things haven’t worked out as planned. For instance, T-Mobile, one of the main carriers in the world, was scheduled to launch its 5G network this week during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But the company couldn’t finalize a few technical details. T-Mobile also noted that it had delayed the 5G launch until a later date which could probably be the second half of the year.
5G technology was also one of the biggest highlights of this year’s Mobile World Congress. There were at least six smartphone makers that unveiled 5G-compatible devices during the conference but there’s one little problem. The devices are actually not compatible with the kind of 5G networks offered by the major carriers. T-Mobile said that there were no handsets out there that could connect to its low-frequency spectrum. The carrier also added that this was the reason why the company has delayed a full network rollout.
The frequency spectrum determines to a large extent how accessible a given network will be. Higher frequency networks tend to demand a bigger number of cell sites and towers. However, low-frequency networks can travel far without the need for extra towers. Many carriers have decided to adopt low-frequency networks simply because they are cost-effective. However, it seems that phone makers are not reading from the same page.
At the moment, a lot of carriers are not planning any big rollouts this year. Instead, they are focusing on building their networks in large urban centers. If indeed 5G takes off in the near term, then the centers will be the biggest drivers of growth. However, T-Mobile could still have nationwide 5G roll put before the year is out. But there are still a lot of challenges that need to be addressed before this can happen.
Some of the major telecom companies consider the 5G network as a complementary option for their customers. It’s not in any way meant to replace 4G in the near future. Although 5G offers lower latency and faster speeds, the infrastructure needed to make it readily available across the country is not yet in place. Many carriers are currently trying to invest in this infrastructure. But unless device makers start to provide phones that can work on a low-frequency spectrum, it may take years before 5G is widely available all over the world. The only hope now is that T-Mobile will push hard to have this done before the end of the year. Whether this will happen or not is still a mystery. But it won’t be a surprise if we get another delay probably until next year.