Why is 5G Important and How it Affects Us
5G connectivity is already here. Although it is yet to be widely available in the Philippines, local telcos have been making some progress, and the impact of this next-gen mobile network is hard to ignore. It will affect not just the speed of our internet access, but also how future devices will be developed and how we use it.
Importance of Innovation
Perhaps the most widely used and essential device right now is the smartphone. While we can look at the changes in the design, hardware, and software as a basis on how it has improved over the years, we must not forget that connectivity played a significant factor in its innovation.
In the 80s, we have the 1G network, and the mobile phones at that time can only accommodate analog voice. These devices are huge, with big keypads, long antennas, and tiny displays.
In the 90s, 2G was introduced. From analog voice, we have shifted to digital. Aside from making calls, we can now send SMS. From monstrous phones of the 80s, we now have the real mobile phones that fit in your pocket. It has smaller antennas and bigger screens so we can read messages.
Then in the 2000s, 3G became available. In addition to calls and SMS, it has enough bandwidth for internet access. Mobile phones have adopted even bigger screens to accommodate the content that can be accessed.
4G arrived in the 2010s, providing a significantly faster connection and larger bandwidth compared to 3G. Aside from accessing websites, we can now use the internet to send messages or make a call using apps. Mobile devices with physical keyboards are now rare as manufacturers move to an all-screen design to accommodate heavy multimedia consumption. Nowadays, we use our smartphones to browse the internet, download files, stream content, and make video calls.
And here comes 5G in the 2020s. It has a predicted speed of up to 10 Gbps, which is 100x increase compared to 4G, increased bandwidth of up to 1,000x more than 4G, and significantly reduced latency. If we apply that technology in our current devices, we can enjoy streaming without buffering, gaming without lags, and video calling in high-resolution. Our future smartphones will also evolve to accommodate the experience.
5G speed test in BGC using the Huawei P40 Pro+
As you can see, as networks improve, so does our mobile technology and our overall experience. It is undeniable — connectivity drives innovation.
Connectivity Changed Our Experience
As we have emphasized earlier, connectivity affects technological innovation. And as technology improves, so does our experience. 5G will change how we regard wireless connections. Right now, wired is the best option for consumers, while wireless is a second option if the latter is not available. When 5G rolls out, we might see it as a strong alternative to wired broadband in the urban setting.
5G connectivity will also drive hi-res media consumption as streaming services become more accessible and affordable. The speed and bandwidth allow us to stream 4K or even 8K content with ease. This will also open more consumers to cloud services, choosing to store their content online than in the device’s somewhat limited storage.
Smartphone manufacturers and online services will take advantage of cloud computing to enhance the capabilities of mobile devices. There will come a time when an entry-level smartphone will be able to play a graphic-intensive game as everything is processed in the cloud and streamed instantly to the device via 5G.
5G will also promote convergence as it will be able to accommodate IoT networks, systems, and devices. Add AI into the mix, and we will see the innovation that will transpire outside our mobile devices and into other industries, including robotics and virtual reality.
5G as the Next Frontier and It is Here
5G is already in the Philippines, but as of writing, it is only available in select locations in the metro. 5G-capable smartphones in the country are also starting to become more common, and the connectivity feature is mostly available on expensive flagship smartphones.
But this is temporary as we will see more 5G smartphones in the country as 5G coverage increases. And it is not just flagship devices. We can expect more from the mid-range, even entry-level categories soon. Right now, the pressure is on the telcos. The faster they roll out, the better.
Huawei Taking the Lead in 5G
There are plenty of companies that are working on 5G, and one of the leading companies in this aspect is Huawei. And the reason for that is it offers a full range of 5G end-to-end product solutions, from the core networks, towers, routers, modems, smartphone SoC, to mobile devices. And there is a benefit to that as you can expect better compatibility across different devices.
As mentioned earlier, 5G-capable smartphones are still limited in the Philippines. Yet, Huawei has already released several devices that are proven to already work in the early stages of 5G in the country like the P40 series of flagship devices, and the mid-range Nova 7SE 5G. When our 5G networks mature, we will definitely see more devices, and more consumers will be able to take advantage of this next-gen network.