FEATURE reality on smartphones to deliver new experiences beyond sharing simple video clips and photography we see today. Conceivably entertainment providers are likely to harness the capabilities of 5G to deliver UHD TV and video-ondemand services to mobile, although one could argue the screen resolution of smartphones must improve further to justify the investment. Moreover 5G has the propensity to replace traditional broadcast television services, moving us to an all-IP world, although this threat is still several years away. In the professional entertainment sector, broadcasters are experimenting with 5G connectivity in studio cameras for outside broadcasts and to enhance live sports by broadcasting UHD coverage of the game direct to 8K displays inside stadiums. These are trial programmes today but as investment in the technology continues the applications for 5G will expand alongside.
until 2025 at the earliest. How soon do you think cities will start to adopt 5G technology, and where do you think they will be? The USA, China and South Korea already have commercial 5G networks on air, albeit in select areas of major cities. In Europe, Finland is expected to be one of the first countries to launch 5G. The European Union are seeking to harmonise network frequencies later in 2019. Futuresource aren’t predicting blanket gigabit coverage in 2019, given the challenges of optimally siting masts creating the mmWave infrastructure necessary for the headline-grabbing 10Gbps speeds. But operators are using the mid-range 3.5GHz frequencies to deliver a balance of speed and coverage, so handsets will soon be displaying the “5G service” logo even when performance is broadly equivalent to 4G. What impact do you think 5G will have on the media and entertainment industry? The speed and (ultimate) ubiquity of 5G is likely to enable new commercial opportunities for the media and entertainment industry. It’s probable that social media will be quick to harness the advantages of faster speeds, perhaps harnessing opportunity in augmented and mixed
Could 5G supersede IP? Telecommunications providers may elect to use 5G to replace fixed-line broadband services, making a switch from fibre to wireless technology dependent upon the relative costs for the upgrade in infrastructure. If this happens, customers will receive a home router with an integrated 5G modem, plus an antenna that can be mounted in a window or on the roof to receive broadband over the 5G network. The mmWave frequencies do not easily penetrate walls or nearby objects so, inside the home, Wi-Fi will continue to be the favoured technology. It’s a combination of IP and 5G that will deliver this opportunity, and we’re already seeing 5G routers with the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard coming to market that can make this option a reality. How excited do you think consumers are about the arrival of 5G? Clearly there are early-adopters that will have tracked the development of 5G; for those, the release of 5G-capable handsets during 2019 will come as no surprise but they may be disappointed with the patchy coverage available during the early phases of deployment. Meanwhile the wider public are generally unaware of 5G because advertising of the new services hasn’t yet happened. This is likely during late 2019 and early 2020 when 5G networks become operational commercially in cities and smartphones boasting the new 5G technology come to market. n
“In Europe, Finland is expected to be one of the first countries to launch 5G.” SIMON FORREST TVBEUROPE APRIL 2019 | 29
Get ready, coz here is come - 5G