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Race To 5G: What We know About 5G From Countries That Have Already Started Adopting It


Are you waiting for 5G? Did you know that the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Finland and Estonia are already reaping its benefits? Not to mention China or Korea which have flown past! The report drawn up by IDATE DigiWorld, a think tank specializing in digital economy and telecommunications, provides a wealth of information on the performance of the new generation of mobile technology.
by: Delphine Sabattier
photo: IDATE DigiWorld
featured: Carole Manero

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Who would have thought it would be possible to have a commercial launch of 5G six months before schedule! To sweeten the deal even further, three major operators have agreed to an optimal volume of offers. This is what China has just done. Unsurprisingly, it has shaken global mobile technology statistics, in a good way of course. The Chinese launched was approved on November 1st, and since then the world has ten million more 5G subscribers than expected by the end of 2019! Of course, ten million out of a billion people in China is not a lot, but globally it changes everything. With Korea, which has been marketing 5G since April 2019, these two countries alone represent 99% of the global 5G customer base, according to the latest figures from IDATE DigiWorld.

What is surprising is that they are not the only ones who have accelerated their launches in recent months. In the United States, Verizon opened the ball in October 2019. In the United Kingdom, all operators have started to follow suit. In Germany, Spain, Austria, Finland, Estonia and Italy, they have not waited until 2020 to take the plunge either. According to Carole Manero, IDATE DigiWorld Mobile Services Analyst, this is the result of geopolitical contexts creating stiff international competition in this field.

“Extremely high-speed can only be achieved within the millimetre bands, at very high frequencies. But this will require the installation of base stations for every 200 meters!”

Certain Eastern European countries, Luxembourg and France are still fixated on a 2020 launch. The first launches will be under the “intermediate frequency band.” This will enable higher speed in terms of bandwidth and coverage. For a truly boosted broadband, you will have to be patient: “Extremely high-speed can only be achieved within the millimetre bands, at very high frequencies. But this will require the installation of base stations for every 200 meters!”, recalls the IDATE DigiWorld specialist.

Initial feedback proves that when users are offered additional data as part of their package end up consuming everything! But, realistically this will only be possible in places covered by 5G. And, 5G is still very concentrated in large cities.

Timeline of 5G launches worldwide © IDATE DigiWorld

Timeline of 5G launches worldwide © IDATE DigiWorld

As for prices, in China: the price per gigabit is cheaper in 5G vs. 4G. This will not be the case in Europe. Here, the new generation of mobile networks will be presented as a premium service. The 40(!) operators who are pitted against each other will instead rework their packages upwards using debit pricing. We are already seeing the emergence of the “false 5”, IDATE DigiWorld tells us, with offers guaranteeing speeds of 500 megabytes, reserving 1 Gigabit only for high-end packages.

For users, it will be a setback, as the cost of dedicated terminal can go upto €1000! Without a dedicated terminal, it will be impossible to take advantage of 5G… In Korea, in order to push the adoption of 5G, the state has generously subsidized compatible smartphones. Should this be a model to follow? Only time will tell…

The first "full 5G" countries © IDATE DigiWorld

The first “full 5G” countries © IDATE DigiWorld

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