The 5G revolution is still to come

In Germany , the 5G mobile communications standard primarily employs politicians and industry lobbyists. On the technical fair CES on the other hand, the technical issues and new 5G devices in the foreground. But even in Las Vegas 5G enthusiasts must be patient.

Las Vegas (dpa) – Clayton Harris from Houston in Texas had fed up with his Internet provider. The service of the cable provider Comcast did not provide the desired speed he constantly needed for his home office as an engineer and his networked home.

By chance, Harris offered an alternative: The US mobile Verizon was looking for a field trial for customers who want to try the fifth generation mobile 5G. Three months ago, the 5G router in the house was Harris in the Houston Heights commissioned, Harris was becoming the first commercial 5G customer in the USA .

On the electronics show CES reported Harris now the keynote lecture by Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg of his first 5G experiences. “Above all, the reliability of the service is important to me because I work from home,” he said of a crisp video-conferencing circuit. “And it’s pretty fast.”

To convince the audience at the CES , Harris started a speed test. “690 megabits per second,” finally stood on the monitor. “I sometimes reach values ​​up to 1.3 gigabit / s”. This is significantly less than the theoretically possible ten Gigabit / s (10,000 megabits / s), but much faster than the previous cable connection. For comparison: An average Internet connection in Germany comes to just under 12 megabits / s.

However, the higher data speed is just another aspect of 5G: “It’s about much more than being able to download a ninety-minute movie on his phone within ten seconds,” said Vestberg . 5G is no longer bound to the previous restrictions of 3G and 4G at mass events such as major sporting events, but offers a data throughput of up to 10 terabits per second and square kilometer, about a thousand times more than previously possible.

In addition, 5G could connect in such an area the connection for about one million devices. This is important, for example, when countless items are networked in the “Internet of Things” in a large port terminal. Vestberg also referred to the environmental benefits of 5G, which requires only 10 percent of 4G’s electricity needs.

Finally, Vestberg referred to the significantly lower durations of the data. Latency between 50 and 100 milliseconds is achieved in the best 4G networks. In Fig. 5G, this time delay reduces to 10 milliseconds. “Any application with virtual reality or augmented reality needs latencies under 20 milliseconds.” This concerns not only gamers who want to play on the mobile networks, but also areas such as telemedicine.

However, anyone expecting a wave of 5G-enabled devices at CES was disappointed. Although at the Samsung booth a first prototype of a 5G smartphone was shown. The South Korean company was silent about when such a device should come on the market.

Californian chip maker Qualcomm praised its 5G data modem chips as the foundation for the “true 5G” on its stand, but also failed to show any market-ready devices. After all, Qualcomm could refer to pre-orders: his 5G technology – the microprocessor Snapdragon 855 and the 5G modem X50 – will appear in about 30 devices this year, including smartphones from virtually all leading manufacturers of devices with the Google system Android.

The 5G specialist Huawei acted significantly more restrained at CES . The Chinese group, which inter alia Deutsche Telekom in the construction of the 5G infrastructure under the arms, probably did not want to pour another oil in the smoldering trade conflict between the US and China. A Huawei spokesman told the Nikkei Asian Review that his company ” did not want to attract much attention from CES ” and that “this time no Chinese leader” would attend the show.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s gap is trying to fill new players. The chip giant Intel , which is known to a broad audience especially for its PC chips, announced at the CES , with its processors for portable radio plants by the year 2022 about 40 per cent of the market to conquer. Three years ago, Intel was not even active in this segment. And even with the Huawei competitor Samsung one senses the chance to be able to score points with technical systems for the 5G infrastructure. But even here, details remained vague.

Thus, at least at CES, the impression is created that the 5G revolution will not come at the speed expected by some experts. Even the 5G premiere of Verizon in Houston is questioned by some experts. After all, Clayton Harris’s home was connected via a fixed-line router rather than a mobile device. In addition, Verizon use a proprietary 5G variant in the Houston Heights , which the industry did not agree on.

Many questions about 5G, which remained unanswered at CES , will be back on the agenda in just a few weeks. From 25 to 28 February, the industry gathers in Barcelona for the MWC mobile communications fair. There are likely to be announced the first 5G devices for consumers.