As 2022 gets into full swing, many business owners are considering how they can give their tech setup a refresh. 5G first hit the UK’s shores in May 2019, but it’s taken a while for the rollout to expand enough to make it a viable commercial option.
This article explores why opting for 5G is a connectivity upgrade worth considering, and how it translates into business benefits.
Although 5G has been around for a couple of years now, in 2022 we’re going to see further expansion of the market both in terms of coverage and 5G-ready devices. According to Umlaut’s 2021 Mobile Network Test in the United Kingdom Report, EE is currently the largest 5G provider, with plans to cover half the UK population by early 2023 and the entire UK by 2028. Other major operators are also expanding their coverage – Vodafone has pledged to accelerate its rollout during 2022 while O2 plans to extend its coverage from 150 towns and cities to over 215.
The same goes for mobile devices. Traditionally, manufacturers have released both a 4G and 5G model of the same handset, leaving the decision to opt for 5G in the hands of the consumer. But now, some major device manufacturers are just releasing a 5G-ready version. For example, Apple’s iPhone 13 is only available in 5G-ready form, encouraging users to opt for a 5G contract and unlock its benefits.
One of the core ways that 5G can benefit business is by improving on the speed and capacity of current 4G connections. 5G is up to ten times faster than 4G, and currently can reach speeds of over one gigabyte per second (Gb/s). In a few years, speeds could increase tenfold to ten Gb/s — 100 times faster than 4G.
5G also offers reduced latency compared to 4G. While typical latency is 50 milliseconds for 4G, 5G delivers instant connectivity, in as little as one millisecond. This is due to faster radio processing. New technology allows the radio signal to be processed more quickly from your phone to the radio transmitter, minimising latency.
While these benefits aren’t new perks, they will improve businesses productivity, especially when considering the future of work. With pre-pandemic work structures long gone, it looks like a hybrid approach will take the place of the daily office commute. Equipping employees with instant connectivity to work from anywhere (WFA) — be it at home, on the move or in a café — is crucial as we enter the new, permanent era of remote work.
5G also increases network capacity. Up to one million devices per square kilometre can connect to the network, which will transform connectivity for people living and working in crowded places. Congested parts of the UK like London, Birmingham and Manchester will no longer have to deal with slow internet due to an overcapacity system, providing continuity of service across the country. For businesses, this means the operations are not negatively impacted by their employees’ location, facilitating WFA.
As well as speeding up connectivity, greater capacity also creates opportunities within the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is gaining momentum across all industries. You might be familiar with the term from its industrial applications, but in business operations, it refers to the enablement of device communication, known as smart devices, through the internet.
IoT has several workplace applications that can help to cut operational cost and drive efficiency by making devices and processes more intelligent. Crystaline offers Vodafone’s market leading global IoT connectivity suite, which empowers businesses of all sizes to unlock the power of IoT.
Products available include asset performance management, heat detection camera systems and IoT-enabled security systems that enable remote monitoring. 5G unlocks the power of IoT by increasing network capacity and making space for all of these connected devices to join the network.
As more years go by, the power of 5G will continue to grow. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for over a fifth of mobile connections, according to the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).
– Written by Kristian Torode, Director and Co-Founder, Crystaline –