People visit the Qualcomm 5G Concept Car on the first day of the 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 26, 2018. (Xinhua/Guo Qiuda)
The Fifth Generation technology or 5G and the vast possibilities it presents for an increasingly connected world are being presented at the ongoing 2018 Mobile World Congress (MWC), which augurs 5G is coming closer or sooner than expected.
ZTE, one of the leading Chinese telecommunications companies, presented a prototype 5G phone at the event which is being held in Spain's eastern city of Barcelona until March 1, while it is working on commercializing a range of 5G products by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, China's telecom giant Huawei, which has been investing in 5G since 2009, presented the "Balong 5G01," a 5G modem with a connection speed of 2.3 Gbps.
Just before the MWC, Huawei confirmed it had made the world's first 5G call between Castelldefels and Madrid in Spain.
5G allows connection speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, meaning, for example, that a two-hour feature film could be downloaded in less than four seconds, promising a revolution for the mobile entertainment industry.
5G also has a much higher data capacity, permitting the connection of a far greater number of devices. Indeed, Huawei calculates there are currently around 7 billion mobile devices connected to the Internet, but thanks to 5G this number could rise to 100 billion by 2025.
The "Mobile Economy" report drawn up by the GSM Association (GSMA), the organizer of the MWC, calculates that two thirds of connections will use either 4G or 5G by 2025.
Although many believe the commercial rollout of 5G will be in 2020, others, such as ZTE, predict it will come sooner, despite issues over the industry standards to be used for new networks which have still to be resolved.
Ramiro Larragan, the director of Marketing for Huawei Espana, told Xinhua that "in order for 5G to truly reach the public, every one of the steps in the process needs to be completed."
This means that first of all we need networks able to support 5G, otherwise there is little use in launching 5G devices.
"It is a chain," said Larragan, who noted that Huawei was working in "all of the steps of the process, from the rollout of the 5G network, the development of 5G devices and the intermediate apparatus which distributes the signal."
"There are functions which are currently connected but which can't be developed because the network doesn't support them. 5G will support these functions with advances in issues such as capacity and transmission," said Larragan.
Huawei took a major step in that direction during the MWC, announcing the company had signed memorandums of understanding regarding 5G networks with 45 operators in Asia, Europe and North America and that the company is already carrying out pre-commercial trials with 30 companies.
Hyun Yong, from South Korean company SK Telecom Co. Ltd, said that 5G offers a wide range of possibilities and products, such as the self-driving vehicle the company exhibited on its stand, that need 5G networks in order to operate.
"They need a high-speed network and high data capacity to provide these services," said Yong, adding that, when they do arrive, customers will have a "richer and more complete mobile experience."
5G will also have a great impact on the Internet of Things, mobile Internet and other services, and, according to the Mobile Economy report, it will support around 14 percent of connections in 2025.
Right now 5G is just around the corner, and it is expected 5G will become a reality at the 2019 MWC.