This year, telecom businesses are preparing for some of the most significant technological advancements the market has seen in years. Patterns such as the 5G transformation and the improvement of the internet of things (Io T) will reshape the telecom sector and force innovation on a vast scale. Telecommunication companies and consumers alike are to benefit from the rolling out mainly of the 5G networks. However, like many new things, the 5G is not without controversy. This post explores 5G as a trendsetter for 2020 and the concerns that arise along with its roll-out.
What is 5G?
5G is expected to bring extraordinary speed among wireless devices. By speed, we mean both in the rate mobile users download data into their devices as well as latency. This new technology aims to provide data rates 10 to 100 times faster than what 4G networks offer. We are talking about gigabits per second (Gb/s) as against the megabits per second (Mb/s) of the 4G technology. That means you can download an HD movie to your mobile phone in just seconds.
The emergence of the 5G will open up doors to new applications that are not possible today, like virtual reality applications or autonomous driving cars. The goal of 5G is to have latencies of under 1-millisecond. Imagine how fast your downloads on your mobile phones would be.
Opportunities for Growth
In an interview with Delloite, Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and US telecommunications, media, and entertainment leader, presents the opportunities and challenges that come along the use of 5G. He says we are likely to see apps that we have never imagined before.
Telecommunications companies are now fully exploring the 5G technology to develop extraordinary apps. There is a predicted $4.2 billion revenue in 5G network infrastructure in 2020. Unlimited plans offered by telecoms could increase both download speeds and monthly data capacity.
Westcott claims that legalized sports betting would be a new growth opportunity for telecoms. This industry could grow as the 5G is designed to support low-latency, high-volume communications, which is the kind of connection that real-time sports bettors want.
With 5G fixed wireless and satellite internet, telcos could now address the lack of competition in the broadband market, not to mention the low rural broadband penetration. Market competition will rise subsequently since more consumers are expected to opt for the 5G to address their need for speed. Besides, SpaceX, OneWeb, and other organizations are now developing small, low Earth orbit satellites. These satellites would deliver high-performance broadband in any part of the earth. Hence, isolated communities would already enjoy fast connections with their mobile phones or dongles like the JioFi dongle. Telcos are also aiming at bringing 5G applications to industries like manufacturing, healthcare, retail, transportation, and education.
Is 5G dangerous?
Indeed, the 5G network could improve lives, but some consumers are concerned about the health risks it also brings. The concerns are mostly related to 5G’s use of higher energy millimeter-wave radiation.
Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at Pennsylvania State University, says that people tend to confuse ionizing and non-ionizing radiation as they use radiation for both, but technically, all light is radiation, but ionizing radiation is dangerous since it breaks chemical bonds.
Note that ionizing radiation is the reason for the use of sunscreen. The short-wavelength ultraviolet light from the sky could knock electrons from their atoms, thus damaging skin cells and DNA.
Meanwhile, millimeter waves, according to Foster, are non-ionizing. It has longer wavelengths with not enough energy to damage cells directly.
Nevertheless, if overheated or at high exposure levels, non-ionizing radiation, like radio-frequency energy, could be hazardous according to Foster says. It could produce burns or thermal damages. Nevertheless, such thermal damages usually take place in occupational settings: if one is near high-powered radio frequency transmitters.
Apart from health risks, the security risk is also a concern with 5G. People remain worried about identity theft, and this is one issue that needs to be addressed. Although at the moment, while companies are continuously working on using 5G to offer more applications, the best way for security is to hide your IP address, perhaps by using a VPN.
Despite the controversies surrounding the 5G network, it cannot be denied that it is the trend now, and may continue to do so in the next few years. Telcos are currently experimenting on how they could take full advantage of this network, and the consumers, being at the receivers’ end of the service, are expected to jump ship once they experience the speed that the 5G network has to offer.
Of course, we cannot say there is no legitimacy to the claims of those who oppose the rolling out of 5G. Like each time a new technology emerges, there are always going to be concerned about its potential harm to living things. The best way to deal with this is to continue with research to prove or disprove such harmful effects to make sure the rolling out goes smoothly. Besides, the mobile phones had the same issues when it first came out, but look at where mobile phones are now; it’s in everyone’s hands!
What do you think of the trends that the 5G is bringing into our table now?
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