Discussions about 5G have already kicked off, the first tests have begun and some countries are reporting a commercial launch in 2019. International activity surrounding the fifth generation of mobile phone standards is increasing at a feverish pace, with activity already expected in some countries before the end of 2018.

The race is on

In May 2018, Vodafone Qatar had already become the first country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to launch 5G. In the United States, the race is underway for operator AT&T in Indianapolis which plans to offer 5G services by the end of the year. Also, from the end of September, a first pilot-zone will become operational in Monaco, before the state-wide roll-out in mid-2019.

On the manufacturer side, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and Samsung have already invested heavily to develop their services and components.

What is 5G?

5G is mainly based on customer experience. By 2020, our habits will change. 5G promises speeds 100 times faster than that of 4G and 4.5G, a very low latency of about a millisecond, 99.99% availability and the ability to have several simultaneous connections. It is for all these reasons that its arrival is generating a buzz in the industry and throughout the world.

Here is a diagram summarising the key differences between 4G and 5G networks.



Source: Les enjeux de la 5G, Arcep – March 2017


This driver of digital growth will make it possible to invent new services in all sectors: self-driving cars, connected objects, home automation, virtual reality, robotic surgery, etc. According to a Gartner study, 20.4 billion connected objects will be used in 2020, +31% compared to 2016. With the arrival of 5G, 76% * of Smartphone users are interested in the services it will provide. In 2022, Ericsson is forecasting nearly 29 billion connected devices, including about 18 billion IoT devices.


Utilities & Services

The 5th generation of mobile phone standards will revolutionise five key industries:


  1. Broadband and media:Users will be able to communicate in crowded or remote areas with fast indoor or outdoor broadband. For Pay TV users and OTT content providers, 4K video uploads/downloads will be complete within seconds without needing to use a Wi-Fi connection.

A few technological requirements

  • Massive MIMO**(Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output: a multiplexing technique)
  • Full mobility
  • High-band spectrum


  1. Smart vehicles and transport: Sensors on the roads, on railways and in vehicles will communicate with each other in real time via the 5G network, which requires high coverage and low energy consumption.

A few technological requirements

  • Soft SIM or SIM-less operation for sensor devices
  • Round-trip time of about 1 ms
  • Different user profiles to access the same network
  • Management of a large amount of data


  1. Critical services and infrastructure control:5G provides high reliability and low latency to control critical infrastructure and services. This will be useful for governments, public safety, city management and public services.

A few technological requirements

  • Round-trip time within a range of 1 ms
  • Soft SIM or SIM-less operation for sensor devices
  • Management of a large amount of data
  • Significant reduction of signalling
  • Network slicing (a form of virtual network architecture)


  1. Man-machine interaction:the high performance of 5G will enable the IOT to be more accessible and increase awareness of the digital environment in which we live. We can then experiment with intelligent vehicles, augmented reality and 360-degree immersive games and films.

A few technological requirements

  • High availability of nodes/radio services (at least 99.99%)
  • Uplink capacity for high-definition videos
  • Quality of Service (QoS) functions
  • Improved response time for real-time diagnosis

In conclusion

With the arrival of 5G, we should expect the democratisation of new technologies such as self-driving cars and immersion in a completely virtual world. There are real opportunities for start-ups and large companies to innovate further in a world where consumers are becoming increasingly connected. The main objective of brands, entrepreneurs and innovators is to find effective ways to connect and interact with consumers via their terminals.


Sarah Benabdellah

B2B Consultant