One of the most eye-catching statistics from the Ericsson Mobility Report has been the rapid growth of 5G and the tremendous pace of change it is helping to drive. 5G has been a major topic of discussion in the TV and media industry throughout 2016 and its potential could certainly transform how video services are delivered to viewers both in and outside of the home. For instance the report predicts that by 2022 there will be 550 million 5G subscriptions and 10 percent of the world’s population will be covered by 5G networks.
The arrival of 5G will accelerate digital transformation across multiple industries and enable use cases in areas such as automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data. 5G will increase bandwidth and reduce latency for the consumer, but it also has the potential to become far more than just a fast speed, high quality connection. 5G could become a crucial enabler in making content more mobile. It will allow operators to deliver more efficient, high quality streaming services to consumers, while also reducing network congestion.
Enhanced 5G networks will deliver faster downloads and offer greater efficiencies, including the potential to deliver Ultra High Definition (UHD) video to both mobile and fixed screens. To hint at the potential that such networks can offer consumers, Ericsson and Sprint took part in a live fan zone demonstration enabling the streaming of UHD 4K video streams over a live 5G wireless signal using 400 MHz of spectrum, including a live 4K UHD camera stream.
Visitors challenged their friends with a ‘connected’ soccer ball that delivered stats, while live 4K UHD video of the kick was streamed over 5G monitors, allowing participants to see themselves and the results. The demo achieved speeds of up to 4 Gbps and shows the potential applications of 5G how it could have an impact for sports fans in the future.
Today’s video services depend mostly on fixed broadband but with the introduction of 5G, our industry has an opportunity to integrate wireless technology and enable the kind of seamless, borderless content experiences consumers are demanding. It’s a hugely powerful technology; an Ericsson operator survey found that 87 per cent of operators said that 5G will be a real game-changer and 86 per cent agreed that 5G enables a wide range of services that no other network has done before.
Although 5G standardization will not be finalized for a few years (it is anticipated that 5G will be endorsed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) by 2020), it is already progressing far enough to provide gigabit speeds in real-world environments and we believe it will make its presence felt long before the start of the next decade.
5G: The commercial future
Early deployments of pre-standard networks are anticipated in selected markets and already today, there are around 30 operators who have publicly announced 5G introduction plans with several trials already taking place. Over the next few years, 5G will help to enable further developments in 360-degree content and virtual reality. North America and Asia Pacific will play a huge role in the enablement of 5G; the Ericsson Mobility Report shows that by 2022 5G is forecast to account for 25 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in the former and 10 per cent in the latter.
At the IBC 2016 CTO Strategic Roadmap session, Ulf Ewaldsson, Senior Vice President, CTO and Head of Group Function Strategy and Technology, Ericsson, said we can expect the 2018 Pyeonchang Olympics to be the first event where 5G technology will be available on the ground (for demonstration purposes). This has been confirmed by South Korea along with Japan and China who have also stated intentions to launch 5G services in conjunction with the hosting of their respective Olympic Games (2020 in Tokyo and 2022 in Beijing).
The introduction of 5G will ultimately enable operators to become more flexible and efficient by moving from a rigid network to an agile one that can meet a plethora of diverse needs with new, as-a-service business models using network slicing. 5G is an innovation platform that will offer the ability to bring new mobile video content services to market quickly, enabling operators to take advantage of market opportunities and dynamically meet changing consumer and business needs.
The Ericsson Mobility Report
Ericsson recently published its bi-annual Ericsson Mobility Report research, which looks into mobile data traffic measurements and market trends and provides in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe. The report uses these calculations and analysis, together with internal forecasts and other relevant studies, to provide insights into current traffic and market trends in the Networked Society. More here.