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5G is the fifth generation cellular network technology. The industry association 3GPP defines any system using "5G NR" (5G New Radio) software as "5G", a definition that came into general use by late 2018. Others may reserve the term for systems that meet the requirements of the ITU IMT-2020. 3GPP will submit their 5G NR to the ITU.[1] It follows 2G, 3G and 4G and their respective associated technologies (such as GSM, UMTS, LTE, LTE Advanced Pro and others).

5th generation mobile network (5G) logo.jpg
3GPP's 5G logo
IntroducedLate 2018 (Late 2018)


5G networks are digital cellular networks, in which the service area covered by providers is divided into small geographical areas called cells. Analog signals representing sounds and images are digitized in the phone, converted by an analog to digital converter and transmitted as a stream of bits. All the 5G wireless devices in a cell communicate by radio waves with a local antenna array and low power automated transceiver (transmitter and receiver) in the cell, over frequency channels assigned by the transceiver from a pool of frequencies which are reused in other cells. The local antennas are connected with the telephone network and the Internet by a high bandwidth optical fiber or wireless backhaul connection. As in other cell networks, a mobile device crossing from one cell to another is automatically "handed off" seamlessly to the new cell.

There are plans to use millimeter waves for 5G.[2] Millimeter waves have shorter range than microwaves, therefore the cells are limited to smaller size; The waves also have trouble passing through building walls.[3] Millimeter wave antennas are smaller than the large antennas used in previous cellular networks. They are only a few inches (several centimeters) long. Another technique used for increasing the data rate is massive MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output).[3] Each cell will have multiple antennas communicating with the wireless device, received by multiple antennas in the device, thus multiple bitstreams of data will be transmitted simultaneously, in parallel. In a technique called beamforming the base station computer will continuously calculate the best route for radio waves to reach each wireless device, and will organize multiple antennas to work together as phased arrays to create beams of millimeter waves to reach the device.[3][4]

The new 5G wireless devices also have 4G LTE capability, as the new networks use 4G for initially establishing the connection with the cell, as well as in locations where 5G access is not available.[5]

5G can support up to a million devices per square kilometer, while 4G supports only up to 100,000 devices per square kilometer.[6][7]

Usage scenarioEdit

The ITU-R has defined three main uses for 5G. They are Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB), Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communications (URLLC), and Massive Machine Type Communications (mMTC).[8] Enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) uses 5G as a progression from 4G LTE mobile broadband services, with faster connections, higher throughput, and more capacity. Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) refer to using the network for mission critical applications that requires uninterrupted and robust data exchange. Massive Machine-Type Communications (mMTC) would be used to connect to a large number of low power, low cost devices, which have high scalability and increased battery lifetime, in a wide area. Neither URLLC nor mMTC are expected to be deployed widely before 2021.



5G NR speed in sub-6 GHz bands can be slightly higher than the 4G with a similar amount of spectrum and antennas,[9][10] though some 3GPP 5G networks will be slower than some advanced 4G networks, such as T-Mobile's LTE/LAA network, which achieves 500+ Mbit/s in Manhattan[11] and Chicago.[12] The 5G specification allows LAA (License Assisted Access) as well but LAA in 5G has not yet been demonstrated. Adding LAA to an existing 4G configuration can add hundreds of megabits per second to the speed, but this is an extension of 4G, not a new part of the 5G standard.[11]

The similarity in terms of throughput between 4G and 5G in the existing bands is because 4G already approaches the Shannon limit on data communication rates. 5G speeds in the less common millimeter wave spectrum, with its much more abundant bandwidth and shorter range, and hence greater frequency reuseability, can be substantially higher.[13]


In 5G, the "air latency"[14] target is 1–4 milliseconds, although the equipment shipping in 2019 has tested air latency of 8–12 milliseconds.[15][16] The latency to the server must be added to the "air latency." Verizon reports the latency on its 5G early deployment is 30 ms.[17]


Initially, the term was associated with the International Telecommunication Union's IMT-2020 standard, which required a theoretical peak download speed of 20 gigabits per second and 10 gigabits per second upload speed, along with other requirements.[18] Then, the industry standards group 3GPP chose the 5G NR (New Radio) standard together with LTE as their proposal for submission to the IMT-2020 standard.[19][20]

The first phase of 3GPP 5G specifications in Release-15 is scheduled to complete in 2019. The second phase in Release-16 is due to be completed in 2020.[21]

5G NR can include lower frequencies (FR1), below 6 GHz, and higher frequencies (FR2), above 24 GHz. However, the speed and latency in early FR1 deployments, using 5G NR software on 4G hardware (non-standalone), are only slightly better than new 4G systems, estimated at 15 to 50% better.[22][23][24]

IEEE covers several areas of 5G with a core focus in wireline sections between the Remote Radio Head (RRH) and Base Band Unit (BBU). The 1914.1 standards focus on network architecture and dividing the connection between the RRU and BBU into two key sections. Radio Unit (RU) to the Distributor Unit (DU) being the NGFI-I (Next Generation Fronthaul Interface) and the DU to the Central Unit (CU) being the NGFI-II interface allowing a more diverse and cost-effective network. NGFI-I and NGFI-II have defined performance values which should be compiled to ensure different traffic types defined by the ITU are capable of being carried. 1914.3 standard is creating a new Ethernet frame format capable of carrying IQ data in a much more efficient way depending on the functional split utilized. This is based on the 3GPP definition of functional splits. Multiple network synchronization standards within the IEEE groups are being updated to ensure network timing accuracy at the RU is maintained to a level required for the traffic carried over it.

5G NREdit

5G NR (New Radio) is a new air interface developed for the 5G network.[25] It is supposed to be the global standard for the air interface of 3GPP 5G networks.[26]

Pre-standard implementationsEdit

  • 5GTF: The 5G network implemented by American carrier Verizon for Fixed Wireless Access in late 2010s uses a pre-standard specification known as 5GTF (Verizon 5G Technical Forum). The 5G service provided to customers in this standard is incompatible with 5G NR. There are plans to upgrade 5GTF to 5G NR "Once [it] meets our strict specifications for our customers," according to Verizon.[27]
  • 5G-SIG: Pre-standard specification of 5G developed by KT Corporation. Deployed at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics.[28]

Internet of ThingsEdit

In the Internet of Things (IoT), 3GPP is going to submit evolution of NB-IoT and eMTC (LTE-M) as 5G technologies for the LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) use case.[29]


5G 3.5 GHz Cell Site of Deutsche Telekom in Darmstadt, Germany
5G 3.5 GHz Cell Site of Vodafone in Karlsruhe, Germany

Beyond mobile operator networks, 5G is also expected to be widely used for private networks with applications in industrial IoT, enterprise networking, and critical communications.

Initial 5G NR launches will depend on existing LTE (4G) infrastructure in non-standalone (NSA) mode (5G NR software on LTE radio hardware), before maturation of the standalone (SA) mode (5G NR software on 5G NR radio hardware) with the 5G core network.

As of April 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association had identified 224 operators in 88 countries that are actively investing in 5G (i.e. that have demonstrated, are testing or trialling, or have been licensed to conduct field trials of 5G technologies, are deploying 5G networks or have announced service launches).[30] The equivalent numbers in November 2018 were 192 operators in 81 countries.[31] The first country to adopt 5G on a large scale was South Korea, in April 2019.

When South Korea launched its 5G network, all carriers used Samsung, Ericsson and Nokia base stations and equipment, except for LG U Plus, who also used Huawei equipment.[32][33] Samsung was the largest supplier for 5G base stations in South Korea at launch, having shipped 53,000 base stations at the time, out of 86,000 base stations installed across the country at the time.[34]

The first fairly substantial deployments were in April 2019. In South Korea, SK Telecom claimed 38,000 base stations, KT Corporation 30,000 and LG U Plus 18,000; of which 85% are in six major cities.[35] They are using 3.5 GHz (sub-6) spectrum in non-standalone (NSA) mode and tested speeds were from 193 to 430 Mbit/s down.[36] 260,000 signed up in the first month and the goal is 10% of phones on 5G by the end of 2019.[37]

Nine companies sell 5G radio hardware and 5G systems for carriers: Altiostar, Cisco Systems, Datang Telecom, Ericsson, Huawei, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung and ZTE.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44]


Large quantities of new spectrum (5G NR frequency bands) have been allocated to 5G[45] in order to enable its increased throughput when compared with 4G. For example, in July 2016, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) freed up vast amounts of bandwidth in underused high-band spectrum for 5G. The Spectrum Frontiers Proposal (SFP) doubled the amount of millimeter-wave unlicensed spectrum to 14 GHz and created four times the amount of flexible, mobile-use spectrum the FCC had licensed to date.[46] In March 2018, European Union lawmakers agreed to open up the 3.6 and 26 GHz bands by 2020.[47]

As of March 2019, there are reportedly 52 countries, territories, special administrative regions, disputed territories and dependencies that are formally considering introducing certain spectrum bands for terrestrial 5G services, are holding consultations regarding suitable spectrum allocations for 5G, have reserved spectrum for 5G, have announced plans to auction frequencies or have already allocated spectrum for 5G use.[48]

5G devicesEdit

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, the world's first smartphone able to connect to 5G networks[49]

In March 2019, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association released the industry's first database tracking worldwide 5G device launches.[50] In it, the GSA identified 23 vendors who have confirmed the availability of forthcoming 5G devices with 33 different devices including regional variants. There were seven announced 5G device form factors: (phones (×12 devices), hotspots (×4), indoor and outdoor customer-premises equipment (×8), modules (×5), Snap-On dongles and adapters (×2), and USB terminals (×1)).[51]. By October 2019, the number of announced 5G devices had risen to 129, across 15 form factors, from 56 vendors[52].

In the 5G IoT chipset arena, as of April 2019 there were four commercial 5G modem chipsets and one commercial processor/platform, with more launched expected in the near future.[53]

Investing in 5GEdit

For investor interested in thematic exposure to 5G in the public markets, currently there are two exchange traded funds (ETFs) focused on 5G:

  • First Trust Indxx NextG ETF (Ticker: NXTG):[54] This is the largest ETF focused on 5G. This ETF follows an equity index called the Indxx 5G & NextG Thematic Index SM.[55] Eligible securities are ranked by market capitalization and up to 100 securities with the largest market capitalizations are selected. 80% of the index weight is allocated to 5G Infrastructure & Hardware and 20% of the index weight is allocated to Telecommunications Service Providers. The companies are then equally weighted by sub-theme.
  • Defiance Next Gen Connectivity ETF (Ticker: FIVG):[56] This ETF is roughly half the market cap of NXTG. It is based upon the BlueStar 5G Communications Index.[57]


Availability by Country or region.


Telstra began its 5G service in areas of Sydney and Melbourne in late 2018 with plans to roll out the service to other cities in the coming years.[58] Optus has also switched on 5G in limited areas, and are currently expanding their 5G network across Australia. Vodafone’s 5G network is likely to go live in 2020.


Argentina expects deployment of 5G around the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020 according to some reports[59] or in 2021 or 2022 according to a different estimate.[60] In late 2017, a lab test of a 5G system achieved a download speed of 20 Gbps.[61] A single terminal in a shopping center in Buenos Aires was experimentally equipped with 5G in early 2019. Its download speeds were as high as 700 Mbps.[citation needed]


Finland held an auction for 5G spectrum in 2018. In this the three telecom operators Elisa, DNA and Telia all won a license to use the 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G networks. As of September 2019 only Elisa is operating a public 5G network in the country. The others are running test networks, but are expected to open networks in the last quarter of 2019. In early October 5G networks are available in the following cities in Finland: Helsinki, Espoo, Jyväskylä, Tampere, Turku and Vantaa.[citation needed]


Germany held an auction for 5G spectrum in June 2019. The winning companies are committed to providing 5G coverage to 98% of households by 2022.[62]

Deutsche Telekom Vodafone Telefónica 1&1 Drillisch
Berlin Partial Partial
Frankfurt am Main Partial
Cologne / Bonn Partial Partial
Darmstadt Partial
Hamburg Planned Partial
Munich Partial
Karlsruhe Partial
Wolfsburg Partial
Operator Infrastructures Spectrum n78 (3,6 GHz TDD) Spectrum n1 (2,1 GHz FDD) Spectrum n28 (700 MHz FDD)
Deutsche Telekom (Build-Out) Ericsson and Huawei 90 MHz 20 MHz 10 MHz
Vodafone (Build-Out) Ericsson and Huawei 90 MHz 20 MHz 10 MHz
Telefónica (Planned) Nokia and Huawei 70 MHz 2021: 20 MHz / 2025: 10 MHz 10 MHz
1&1 Drillisch (Planned) N/A 50 MHz 2021: 0 MHz / 2025: 10 MHz 0 MHz


On 23 February 2018, Bharti Airtel and Chinese multinational telecom gear Huawei have successfully conducted India’s first 5G network trial under a test setup at the former’s network experience centre in Manesar, Gurugram.[65] However, The Indian government is looking to ban Huawei from future 5G spectrum auctions for security reasons. In response, Airtel made a statement stating that it may look for alternatives for 5G as it no longer wishes to continue with Huawei infrastructures.[66][67] Nevertheless, Huawei urged the Department of Telecom to make an independent decision on 5G rollout.[68][69] Huawei, further said that it won't invest more if government denies permission for 5G auctions.[70]

In August 2019, the Chinese government increased its pressure on India not to ban Huawei, indicating it could retaliate against Indian companies doing business in China.[71] While Australia and the United Kingdom have expressed their concerns over cyber security of India.[72] Australian national security and cyber officials have also warned India over security threats of Huawei.[73][74] In Indian Economic Summit 2019, Wilbur Ross said that the U.S. hopes that India “does not inadvertently subject itself to untoward security risk” by using 5G equipment from the Chinese tech giant and mentioned that India should take its own decision on Huawei.[75]

Operator Infrastructures
Bharti Airtel (Planned) Nokia
BSNL (Planned) Nokia and Coriant
Reliance Jio (Planned) Samsung
Vodafone Idea (Planned) Ericsson


In August 2019, Vodafone Ireland switched on 5G connectivity in Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford cities initially, with a view to expanding its network over time.[81]


Iliad TIM Vodafone Wind Tre
Bari Planned
Bologna Planned Partial
Florence Planned
Matera Planned
Milan Planned Partial
Naples Partial Partial
Rome Partial Partial
Turin Partial Partial
Verona Planned
Operator Infrastructures
Iliad Cisco Systems, CommScope and Nokia
TIM Ericsson
Vodafone Huawei
Wind Tre Ericsson and ZTE


On 9 July 2019, Monaco Telecom launched its 5G network covering the entire city area in conjunction with the presentation of the commercial offer.[88][89]


On 22 August 2019, Zong had became the first network to test 5G in Pakistan. The tests were conducted by Pakistani telecom company Zong along with Chinese telecom gear company Huawei at Zong Headquarter in Islamabad.[90][91][92]

Operator Infrastructures
Zong (Planned) Huawei


Starting May 2019, Vodafone Romania offer 5G connectivity in Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca and Mamaia.[95]


In June 2019, "Huawei signed a deal with Russia's largest telecoms operator MTS to develop 5G technologies and launch a fifth-generation network in Russia within the next year."[96]

In July 2019, Moscow announced the opening of 5G demo centres for testing new technologies and city services. The demo centres provide access to 5G networks for Russian and foreign companies via 5G laboratories operating on the principle of vendor neutrality, which means openness to business, information security and respect for patent law.[citation needed]

Agreements on launching a 5G network have been signed with Russia’s main telecom operators. The operators will deploy segments of permanently operating 5G zones, test new functionalities of the 5th generation network, and interact with each other.[citation needed]

Each of the 4 operators will have its own pilot zone: at the Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy, Skolkovo, Sparrow Hills and Tverskaya Street. At the same time, the operators will work with the regulator independently on frequency bids and permits.

In 2018, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin and Sergei Soldatenkov, CEO of MegaFon, Russia’s second largest mobile phone operator, have signed a cooperation agreement aimed at developing communication services and information and telecommunications technologies in Moscow.[citation needed]

Beeline has also signed a five-year renewable agreement with the Moscow authorities under which it will deploy a pilot 5G network in the capital next year alongside NB-IoT, Smart City and virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) solutions.

Ericsson has been selected by Tele2 Russia to upgrade its network with the 5G-ready Ericsson Radio System including software, as part of a five-year network modernisation deal to enable higher speeds and capacity and prepare for the 5G launch.

Tele2 Russia has also entered into a partnership agreement with Huawei, involving strategic cooperation in the development of a 5G-oriented transport and core network, including testing of ultra-wideband communication networks.[citation needed]

At the Mobile World Congress, Ericsson signed a 5G “roadmap agreement” with MTS. The agreement outlines the rollout of 5G networks for the operator in the 2019–2022 timeframe.

The commercial launch of 5G is one of Moscow’s priority projects. The first pilot zones will be small areas in key locations across Moscow. These areas fall into two main categories: crowded places (parks and central streets), where more consumer tech 5G tests and demonstrations will be held; and innovation centres and technoparks, where technology companies will be able to test industrial 5G. The project is being implemented in cooperation with Huawei, Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and IBM.[citation needed]

During the 2018 World Cup, MegaFon used Nokia 5G equipment to demonstrate VR Broadcast technology for indoor coverage at a venue for media representatives and football fans. Fifty people used VR glasses to watch the VR broadcast, with 20 VR glasses being used simultaneously at speeds of up to 35 Mbps per device.[citation needed]

San MarinoEdit

San Marino is covered by the 5G network of TIM San Marino using telecommunications infrastructures produced by Nokia; however no commercial offer is available yet (July 2019).[97]

South AfricaEdit

Launched[98] September 2019.

South KoreaEdit

By the middle of June 2019, South Korea had over one million 5G subscribers.[99]


Taiwan is aiming for service availability by January 2020, according to Vice Premier Chen Chi-mai.[100] In June 2019, the American tech company Qualcomm started construction on a 5G center in Taipei.[101]

United KingdomEdit

EE O2 Three Vodafone
Belfast Live Planned
Birkenhead Planned
Birmingham Live Planned Live
Blackpool Planned
Bolton Planned
Bournemouth Planned
Bradford Planned
Brighton Planned
Bristol Planned Planned Live
Cardiff Live Planned Planned Live
Coventry Planned Planned
Derby Planned
Edinburgh Live Planned Planned
Guildford Planned
Glasgow Planned Planned Live
Hull Planned Planned
Leeds Planned Planned Planned
Leicester Planned Planned
Liverpool Planned Planned Live
London Live Planned Live Live
Manchester Live Planned Live
Middlesbrough Planned
Milton Keynes Planned
Newbury Planned
Newcastle Planned
Nottingham Planned Planned
Portsmouth Planned
Plymouth Planned
Reading Planned Planned
Rotherham Planned
Sheffield Planned Planned
Slough Planned Planned
Stoke-on-Trent Planned
Sunderland Planned
Walsall Live Planned Planned
Wolverhampton Live Planned Live

United StatesEdit

Video produced by the FCC about 5G in the United States.

The four major US carriers have announced plans to deploy 5G in 2019, beginning with major metropolitan areas. On July 31, Atlanta became the first city to have it available on all of them.[105]

AT&T Sprint T-Mobile Verizon
Atlanta Live Live Live Live
Boston Planned
Charlotte Live Planned
Chicago Live Live
Cincinnati Planned
Cleveland Planned
Columbus Planned
Dallas–Fort Worth Live Live Planned Planned
Denver Live
Des Moines Planned
Detroit Live
Houston Live Live Planned
Indianapolis Live Live
Jacksonville Live
Kansas City Live Planned
Las Vegas Live Live
Little Rock Planned
Los Angeles Live Live Live
Louisville Live
Memphis Planned
Minneapolis–Saint Paul Live
Nashville Live
New Orleans Live
New York Live Live
Oklahoma City Live
Orlando Live
Phoenix Live Live
Providence Live
Raleigh Live
Salt Lake City Planned
San Antonio Live
San Diego Live Planned
San Francisco Live
San Jose Live
Tampa Live
Waco Live
Washington Live Live
Operator Infrastructures
AT&T Samsung and Nokia
Sprint Nokia
T-Mobile Ericsson and Nokia
Verizon Samsung and Nokia

In August 2018, Senators John Thune and Brian Schatz introduced the Streamlining the Rapid Evolution and Modernization of Leading-edge Infrastructure Necessary to Enhance Small Cell Deployment Act (S. 3157), also known as the Streamline Small Cell Deployment Act. The proposed legislation limits local government involvement in the location of 5G equipment.[107]


Uruguay state-owned operator Antel with vendor Nokia launched the first 5G commercial network in Latin America in April 2019.[108]


Vietnam is aiming for service availability by January 2020 – ahead of Singapore and Malaysia, being the first ASEAN-state to roll-out 5G in the Southeast Asia Region--, according to The Diplomat.[109] As previously reported by CommsUpdate, market leader Viettel was handed the country’s first licence to trial 5G in January 2019 and tests were launched in Hanoi in cooperation with Swedish vendor Ericsson in May. The test permit is valid for one year until 21 January 2020 and allows the firm to trial the technology in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The military-owned company, which plans to launch commercial 5G services in 2020, announced that data connection speeds ranged from 1.5Gbps to 1.7Gbps. A third cellco, MobiFone, is expected to test 5G in Hanoi, Hai Phong and Da Nang.[110] On September 17th, 2019, Viettel started installation of 5G testing infrastructure, which was eventually released on September 20th.

In other countriesEdit

  • Mexico could begin 5G service in 2021, according to José Otero, director for Latin America and the Caribbean of 5G Américas.[111][112][113]
  • New Zealand will launch 5G services in December 2019. Vodafone NZ announced its intention and 5G deployment plan on August 1, 2019.[114]
  • Sweden plans to begin rolling 5G services out sometime in 2020.[115]
  • Panama plans to begin rolling out 5G in 2020–2021 using Huawei equipment for all infrastructure. [116][117]


New radio frequenciesEdit

The air interface defined by 3GPP for 5G is known as New Radio (NR), and the specification is subdivided into two frequency bands, FR1 (below 6 GHz) and FR2 (mmWave),[118] each with different capabilities.

Frequency range 1 (< 6 GHz)Edit

The maximum channel bandwidth defined for FR1 is 100 MHz, due to the scarcity of continuous spectrum in this crowded frequency range. The band most widely being used for 5G in this range is around 3.5 GHz. The Korean carriers are using 3.5 GHz although some millimeter wave spectrum has also been allocated.

Frequency range 2 (> 24 GHz)Edit

The minimum channel bandwidth defined for FR2 is 50 MHz and the maximum is 400 MHz, with two-channel aggregation supported in 3GPP Release 15. In the U.S., Verizon is using 28 GHz and AT&T is using 39 GHz. 5G can use frequencies of up to 300 GHz.[119] The higher the frequency, the greater the ability to support high data transfer speeds without interfering with other wireless signals or becoming overly cluttered. Due to this, 5G can support approximately 1,000 more devices per meter than 4G.[120]

FR2 coverageEdit

5G in the 24 GHz range or above use higher frequencies than 4G, and as a result, some 5G signals are not capable of traveling large distances (over a few hundred meters), unlike 4G or lower frequency 5G signals (sub 6 GHz). This requires placing 5G base stations every few hundred meters in order to utilize higher frequency bands. Also, these higher frequency 5G signals cannot easily penetrate solid objects, like cars, trees and walls, because of the nature of these higher frequency electromagnetic waves.[121]

Cell types Deployment environment Max. number ​of users Output power ​(mW) Max. distance from ​base station
5G NR FR2 Femto cell Homes, businesses Home: 4–8
Businesses: 16–32
indoors: 10–100
outdoors: 200–1000
10s of meters
Pico cell Public areas like shopping malls,
airports, train stations, skyscrapers
64 to 128 indoors: 100–250
outdoors: 1000–5000
10s of meters
Micro cell Urban areas to fill coverage gaps 128 to 256 outdoors: 5000−10000 few hundreds of meters
Metro cell Urban areas to provide additional capacity more than 250 outdoors: 10000−20000 hundreds of meters
(for comparison)
Homes, businesses less than 50 indoors: 20–100
outdoors: 200–1000
few 10s of meters

Massive MIMOEdit

Massive MIMO (multiple input and multiple output) antennas increases sector throughput and capacity density using large numbers of antennas and Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO). Each antenna is individually-controlled and may embed radio transceiver components. Nokia claimed a five-fold increase in the capacity increase for a 64-Tx/64-Rx antenna system. The term "massive MIMO" was coined by Nokia Bell Labs researcher Dr. Thomas L. Marzetta in 2010, and has been launched in 4G networks, such as Softbank in Japan.[122]

Of over 562 separate 5G demonstrations, tests or trials globally of 5G technologies, at least 94 of them have involved testing Massive MIMO in the context of 5G.[123]

Edge computingEdit

Edge computing is delivered by cloud computing servers closer to the ultimate user. It reduces latency and data traffic congestion.[124][125]

Small cellEdit

Small cells are low-powered cellular radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to a few kilometers. Small cells are critical to 5G networks, as 5G's radio waves can't travel long distances, because of 5G's higher frequencies.


Beamforming, as the name suggests, is used to direct radio waves to a target. This is achieved by combining elements in an antenna array in such a way that signals at particular angles experience constructive interference while others experience destructive interference. This improves signal quality and data transfer speeds. 5G uses beamforming due to the improved signal quality it provides. Beamforming can be accomplished using Phased array antennas.

Wifi-cellular convergenceEdit

One expected benefit of the transition to 5G is the convergence of multiple networking functions to achieve cost, power and complexity reductions. LTE has targeted convergence with Wi-Fi band/technology via various efforts, such as License Assisted Access (LAA; 5G signal in unlicensed frequency bands that are also used by Wi-Fi) and LTE-WLAN Aggregation (LWA; convergence with Wi-Fi Radio), but the differing capabilities of cellular and Wi-Fi have limited the scope of convergence. However, significant improvement in cellular performance specifications in 5G, combined with migration from Distributed Radio Access Network (D-RAN) to Cloud- or Centralized-RAN (C-RAN) and rollout of cellular small cells can potentially narrow the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks in dense and indoor deployments. Radio convergence could result in sharing ranging from the aggregation of cellular and Wi-Fi channels to the use of a single silicon device for multiple radio access technologies.[citation needed]

NOMA (non-orthogonal multiple access)Edit

NOMA (non-orthogonal multiple access) is a proposed multiple-access technique for future cellular systems via allocation of power.


Initially, cellular mobile communications technologies were designed in the context of providing voice services and Internet access. Today a new era of innovative tools and technologies is inclined towards developing a new pool of applications. This pool of applications consists of different domains such as the Internet of Things (IoT), web of connected autonomous vehicles, remotely controlled robots, and heterogeneous sensors connected to serve versatile applications.[126] In this context, network slicing has emerged as a key technology to efficiently embrace this new market model.[127]

Channel codingEdit

The channel coding techniques for 5G NR have changed from Turbo codes in 4G to polar codes for the control channels and LDPC for the data channels.[128][129]

Operation in unlicensed spectrumEdit

Like LTE in unlicensed spectrum, 5G NR will also support operation in unlicensed spectrum (NR-U).[130] In addition to License Assisted Access (LAA) from LTE that enable carriers to use those unlicensed spectrum to boost their operational performance for users, in 5G NR it will support standalone NR-U unlicensed operation which will allow new 5G NR networks to be established in different environments without acquiring operational license in licensed spectrum, for instance for localized private network or lower the entry barrier for providing 5G internet services to the public.[130]


Interference issuesEdit

Spectrum used by various 5G proposals will be near that of passive remote sensing such as by weather and Earth observation satellites, particularly for water vapor monitoring. Interference will occur and will potentially be significant without effective controls. An increase in interference already occurred with some other prior proximate band usages.[131][132] Interference to satellite operations impairs numerical weather prediction performance with substantially deleterious economic and public safety impacts.[133][134] The concerns prompted US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in February 2019 to urge the FCC to delay some spectrum auction proposals, which was rejected.[135] The chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and House Science Committee wrote separate letters to FCC chair Ajit Pai asking for further review and consultation with NOAA, NASA, and DoD, and warning of harmful impacts to national security.[136] Acting NOAA director Neil Jacobs testified before the House Committee in May 2019 that 5G out-of-band emissions could produce a 30% reduction in weather forecast accuracy and that the resulting degradation in ECMWF model performance would have failed to predict the track and thus impact of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. The United States Navy in March 2019 wrote a memorandum warning of deterioration and made technical suggestions to control band bleed-over limits, for testing and fielding, and for coordination of the wireless industry and regulators with weather forecasting organizations.[137]

Surveillance concernsEdit

Due to fears of potential espionage of foreign users by Chinese equipment vendors, several countries (including Australia, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands as of early 2019)[138] have taken actions to restrict or eliminate the use of Chinese equipment in their respective 5G networks. Chinese vendors and the Chinese government have denied these claims.

In 2019, the United States via its FBI, the British GCHQ, other intelligence agencies and criminal prosecuting organisations are massively involved to adjust surveillance standards. The 5G security architecture should be adjusted so as much metadata as possible is collected. This happens via the 3SALI meetings of the 3GPP standardization organization.[139]

Health concernsEdit

The development of the technology has stoked fear that 5G radiation could have adverse health effects.[140] Wired characterized fears that the technology could cause cancer, infertility, autism, Alzheimer’s, and mysterious bird deaths as "conspiracy theory".[141] In April 2019, the city of Brussels in Belgium blocked a 5G trial because of radiation laws.[142] In Geneva, Switzerland, a planned upgrade to 5G was stopped for the same reason.[143] The Swiss Telecommunications Association (ASUT) has said that studies have been unable to show that 5G frequencies have any health impact.[144]

Health concerns related to radiation from cell phone towers and cell phones are not new. Although electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not scientifically recognised, effects such as headaches and neurasthenia has been claimed from 4G and Wi-Fi.[145] 5G technology presents a couple of new issues which depart from 4G technology, higher microwave frequencies from 2.6 GHz to 28 GHz, compared to 700–2500 MHz typically used by 4G. Because the higher millimeter wave used in 5G do not easily penetrate objects, this requires the installation of antennas every few hundred meters, which has sparked concern among the public.[140]

Critics of 5G say that these millimeter wave frequencies used by 5G have not been extensively tested on the general public; most experts believe that more scientific research is needed,[146] even as millimeter wave technology has been used in technology such as radar for many decades.[147][148][149] United States Senator Richard Blumenthal in 2018 said "I know of no reliable studies — classified or otherwise that have been done about 5G technology. There may have been studies by the military but so far as I know they failed to meet the specifications that are required in terms of the numbers of animals or other ways of measuring that would be required."[150]

In 2018, RT America, a media outlet funded by the Russian government,[151][152][153] began airing programming linking 5G to harmful health effects without scientific support. The frequency of similar programming increased in 2019. Several RT stories have warned of health impacts such as "brain cancer, infertility, autism, heart tumors and Alzheimer’s disease" and have spread to hundreds of blogs and websites.[154]

In January 2019, over 180 scientists and doctors from 36 countries sent a letter to officials of the European Union demanding a moratorium on 5G coverage in Europe until potential hazards for human health have been fully investigated.[155] According to the "Statement on emerging health and environmental issues (2018)" edited by European Commission's Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER), "5G networks will soon be rolled out for mobile phone and smart device users. How exposure to electromagnetic fields could affect humans remains a controversial area, and studies have not yielded clear evidence of the impact on mammals, birds or insects. The lack of clear evidence to inform the development of exposure guidelines to 5G technology leaves open the possibility of unintended biological consequences."[156]

In the US, New Hampshire is considering establishing a commission to study the health effects of 5G networks.[citation needed] Several leaders[who?] in Congress have written to the Federal Communications Commission expressing concern about potential health risks.[citation needed] And in Mill Valley, California, the city council blocked the deployment of new 5G wireless cells."[157][158][159][160][161] Similar concerns were raised in Vermont.[162]

Senator Blumenthal in February 2019 questioned 5G industry representatives about health risks and related studies, finding that the industry has not done studies, nor were any ongoing.[163]

In July 2019, the New York Times wrote an article detailing how an influential study from the year 2000[164], which determined that wireless technology carried a high chance of causing negative health effects in humans, made a scientific error by failing to study the protective benefits of human skin.[165] The article claimed that many of the alleged health concerns around 5G and other wireless technologies in humans have not been scientifically proven.[165]

On August 2019, a court in the USA decided that 5G technology will not be deployed without environmental impact and historic preservation reviews.[166]

Security concernsEdit

On 18 October 2018, a team of researchers from ETH Zurich, the University of Lorraine and the University of Dundee released a paper titled “A Formal Analysis of 5G Authentication”.[167][168] It alerted that 5G technology could open ground for a new era of security threats. The paper described the technology as “immature and insufficiently tested,” the one that “enables the movement and access of vastly higher quantities of data, and thus broadens attack surfaces.” Simultaneously, network security companies like Fortinet,[169] Arbor Networks,[170] A10 Networks,[171] and Voxility[172] advised on personalized and mixed security deployments against massive DDoS attacks foreseen after 5G deployment.

IoT Analytics estimated an increase in the number of IoT devices, enabled by 5G technology, from 7 billion in 2018 to 21.5 billion by 2025.[173] This can raise the attack surface for these devices to a substantial scale, and the capacity for DDoS attacks, cryptojacking, and other cyberattacks could boost proportionally.[168]


5G is often sold as a universal solution for all internet connectivity issues. As Member of Parliament of Canada David de Burgh Graham says, "5G is not a magic bullet that will fix everything."[174]

Marketing of non-5G servicesEdit

In various parts of the world, carriers have launched numerous differently branded technologies like "5G Evolution" which advertise improving existing networks with the use of "5G technology".[175] However, these pre-5G networks are actually existing improvement on specification of LTE networks that are not exclusive to 5G, and thus they are being described as "misleading".[176]

Climate changeEdit

There are some concerns that 5G network will increase GHG emission.[177][unreliable source?]


  • In April 2008, NASA partnered with Geoff Brown and Machine-to-Machine Intelligence (M2Mi) Corp to develop 5G communications technology.[178]
  • In 2008, the South Korean IT R&D program of "5G mobile communication systems based on beam-division multiple access and relays with group cooperation" was formed.[179]
  • In August 2012, New York University founded NYU WIRELESS, a multi-disciplinary academic research centre that has conducted pioneering work in 5G wireless communications.[180][181][182]
  • On 8 October 2012, the UK's University of Surrey secured £35M for a new 5G research centre, jointly funded by the British government's UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF) and a consortium of key international mobile operators and infrastructure providers, including Huawei, Samsung, Telefonica Europe, Fujitsu Laboratories Europe, Rohde & Schwarz, and Aircom International. It will offer testing facilities to mobile operators keen to develop a mobile standard that uses less energy and less radio spectrum while delivering speeds faster than current 4G with aspirations for the new technology to be ready within a decade.[183][184][185][186]
  • On 1 November 2012, the EU project "Mobile and wireless communications Enablers for the Twenty-twenty Information Society" (METIS) starts its activity towards the definition of 5G. METIS achieved an early global consensus on these systems. In this sense, METIS played an important role of building consensus among other external major stakeholders prior to global standardization activities. This was done by initiating and addressing work in relevant global fora (e.g. ITU-R), as well as in national and regional regulatory bodies.[187]
  • Also in November 2012, the iJOIN EU project was launched, focusing on "small cell" technology, which is of key importance for taking advantage of limited and strategic resources, such as the radio wave spectrum. According to Günther Oettinger, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society (2014–2019), "an innovative utilization of spectrum" is one of the key factors at the heart of 5G success. Oettinger further described it as "the essential resource for the wireless connectivity of which 5G will be the main driver".[188] iJOIN was selected by the European Commission as one of the pioneering 5G research projects to showcase early results on this technology at the Mobile World Congress 2015 (Barcelona, Spain).
  • In February 2013, ITU-R Working Party 5D (WP 5D) started two study items: (1) Study on IMT Vision for 2020 and beyond, and; (2) Study on future technology trends for terrestrial IMT systems. Both aiming at having a better understanding of future technical aspects of mobile communications towards the definition of the next generation mobile.[189]
  • On 12 May 2013, Samsung Electronics stated that they had developed a "5G" system. The core technology has a maximum speed of tens of Gbit/s (gigabits per second). In testing, the transfer speeds for the "5G" network sent data at 1.056 Gbit/s to a distance of up to 2 kilometers with the use of an 8*8 MIMO.[190][191]
  • In July 2013, India and Israel agreed to work jointly on development of fifth generation (5G) telecom technologies.[192]
  • On 1 October 2013, NTT (Nippon Telegraph and Telephone), the same company to launch world's first 5G network in Japan, wins Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Award at CEATEC for 5G R&D efforts.[193]
  • On 6 November 2013, Huawei announced plans to invest a minimum of $600 million into R&D for next generation 5G networks capable of speeds 100 times faster than modern LTE networks.[194]
  • On 3 April 2019, South Korea became the first country to adopt 5G.[195] Just hours later, Verizon launched its 5G services in the United States, and disputed South Korea's claim of becoming the world's first country with a 5G network, because allegedly, South Korea's 5G service was initially launched for just 6 South Korean celebrities so that South Korea could claim the title of having the world's first 5G network.[196] In fact, the three main South Korean telecommunication companies (SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus) added more than 40,000 users to their 5G network on the launch day.[197]

Other applicationsEdit


5G Automotive Association have been promoting the C-V2X communication technology that will first be deployed in 4G. It provides for communication between vehicles and communication between vehicles and infrastructures, leading to increase in autonomous (self-driving) cars and IOT (Internet of Things).[198]

Automation (factory and process)Edit

5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation – 5G-ACIA promotes 5G for factory automation and process industry.[199]

Public safetyEdit

Mission-critical push-to-talk (MCPTT) and mission-critical video and data are expected to be furthered in 5G.[200]

Fixed wirelessEdit

Fixed wireless connections intended to replace fixed line broadband (ADSL, VDSL, Fiber optic, and DOCSIS connections) with 5G connections.[201][202][203]


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External linksEdit

  Media related to 5G at Wikimedia Commons

Preceded by
4th Generation (4G)
Mobile telephony generations Succeeded by