As the world’s economy struggles in the tight grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 5G ecosystem is forging ahead with standardization and the development of new products, steady in its commitment to provide ever-improving cellular connectivity and innovative services for business and everyday activities.
Even though standardization has been slowed by the need to conduct remote meetings, [the 3rd Generation Partnership (3GPP) announced, in October 2020, that it is conducting a detailed review of the progress of its Release 17 work program and that it would determine a firm completion schedule by the end of the year], the industry is building back to its pre-COVID-19 pace.
Indeed, the future looks bright for the 5G ecosystem. According to the latest “Mobile Economy North America 2020” report from GSMA Intelligence, 5G will account for more than half of the mobile connections in North America by 2025, at which time the continent will have more than 340 million mobile subscribers.
The report asserts that a thirst for streaming content, new digital services, and the rollout of 5G networks will fuel an exponential increase in data consumption. Alongside 5G rollouts, operators are also pursuing ambitious network transformation strategies.
Finally, the study reveals that more than half of mobile users in the United States and Canada already benefit from health-focused mobile apps. These will become increasingly important as health systems move away from in-person consultations as part of the response to COVID-19.
5G Peak Speed Higher Than 5 Gb/s: On 20 October 2020, Verizon, Ericsson, and Qualcomm Technologies announced they had demonstrated 5G peak speeds of 5.06 Gb/s. Such a feat was achieved by combining eight separate channels of 5G millimeter-wave (mm-wave) spectrum through carrier aggregation, a technology that merges channels to provide greater efficiency for data sessions.
The demonstration, completed in a lab environment, used 5G infrastructure from the Ericsson Radio System portfolio and a 5G smartphone form factor test device powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon X60 5G modem–radio-frequency (RF) system, featuring third-generation Qualcomm QTM535 mm-wave antenna modules. A transmission rate of 5.06-Gb/s was delivered using 800-MHz bandwidth in 28-GHz mm-wave spectrum combined with 40 MHz for the 4G LTE anchor. This band combination is commercially supported by the Ericsson Radio System portfolio, and by several 5G devices available today powered by the Snapdragon X55 5G modem–RF system.
These achievements show that, when fully mature, 5G technology has the potential to reach speeds up to 10 Gb/s.