The 5G Race

Samarjit Kambam
As the saying goes “The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed”, an adage by Mahatma Gandhi which becomes truer and more realistic with each passing day. When it comes to wealth, comfort, pleasure and greed, there is no other creature in the world more insatiable than we the humans are.
In the quest for comfort, humans are going in tandem with technology with the latter gaining the upper hand. The pace of technological advancement in the wireless communication sector has become unsurpassed as it changed from analogue to digital. Subsequently, the humans are on a consistent mission so that digital wireless communication systems fulfil their growing needs.
Walking down memory lane we can witness 1G (1st Generation) starting from 1980s, 2G in 1990s, 3G in 2000s, 4G in 2010s and now we are advancing towards 5G promising data speed which will be tantamount to 10 Giga bytes per second. Such a speed will consume only 3 seconds or less to download a high resolution movie by your 5G enabled smartphone. The huge array of innovative features of 5G is that your smartphone would be more than parallel  to a laptop,  enabling use of internet broad-band connection, wider multi-media options, connectivity everywhere, zero latency, faster response time, high quality audio and HD video. 5G will be more advanced in terms of high increased peak bit rate, larger data volume per unit area, higher capacity for more devices irrespective of the geographical location concurrently and instantaneously, lower battery consumption, larger number of supporting devices, lower cost of infrastructural development, higher reliability of communications. In fact 5G wi-fi technology will offer contiguous and consistent coverage i.e. “wider area mobility” in the true sense.
The most notable feature of 5G is that it will enable devices to communicate with each other. Just imagine, no, don’t imagine for its too late to imagine. Just let yourself to wonderstruck how convenient your life would be if you can control the micro-wave level of your meatloaf filled oven via your smartphone from the comfort of your workplace, your fridge notifying you the list of shortage items, prompting you to de-chill your cans of Budweiser while you are strolling on the park, your washing machine notifying that your clothes are being dried in the drier while you are travelling on a jetliner continents away, reminding that you need to withdraw your shares from the stockmarket as the bull has gotten sluggish and the bear has begun its rampaging mauls, sending your driverless car to pick up your nanny to look after your kids while you are away on a business trip. Wonderstruck apart, what will really be hard to consume but will be as true as the sun always rising in the east is that the driverless vehicles will be autonomous, they would communicate with each other about the landscape, the road conditions, the lighting, the traffic scenario, the pedestrians’ movement, pattern of crisscrossing vehicles and maintain their relative speeds to prevent collision.
With 5G, technicians with specialised skills will be able to control machinery from anywhere in the world. It could also fundamentally change health care where we can see improvements in telemedicine, remote recovery, precision surgery and even remote surgery. Hospitals will be able to create massive sensor networks to monitor patients. Medical transcription will get advanced manifold. Online classes will be many steps ahead even though it still can’t beat physical classes.
Many major 5G carrier companies of the world particularly United States, China, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea etc are working furiously to bring out to the platter 5G networks for the public. Yet, deployment across the entire globe will nonetheless take some time. In the history of 5G, the United States carrier Verizon can be considered the pioneer followed by AT & T in tandem with Sprint already providing 5G service to many States of North America since 2018.
It is an undeniable fact that the first carrier rolling out 5G service on a commercial scale for the public will have the last laugh and have control of economic expansion in ways unimaginable and unprecedented. Foreseeing the reality, the United States during Trump era had flexed its big muscles and blocked Huawei of China, considered to be the frontrunner in 5G spectrum race over security concerns, concerns on intelligence gathering, monitoring critics and stealing intellectual property rights where genuineness for all the allegations are still muffled. Huawei has 22 commercial 5G contracts around the world but the ban initiated by the US and being lobbied by other developed countries is still an uncertain reason whether it is technical issue or security concern. Many experts believe the reason to be more politically oriented as opposed to actual security or technical issues. Following the list of competitors is the Finnish company Nokia, Sweden based Ericsson, Qualcomm of US and ZTE of China etc.
In fact, it is a big war out there in the vast battlefield of 5G with most of the developed Nations vying amongst themselves for the top slot. That’s why the race on 5G can be considered as one of the latest economic wars. A word of advice-the days of the 4G smartphone era is getting outnumbered and they will become sort of extinct. I am not procrastinating things for am neither Nostradamus nor even his immediate neighbour. But, looking by the way things are progressing, if you are planning on buying a new smartphone, better buy a 5G enabled one with capability to unlock all kinds of 5g carriers. The writer can be reached at [email protected]