Trend Overview

5G is a term used to refer to fifth-generation mobile network technology. Telecommunications vendors first began developing 5G systems as far back as 2009, but are yet to agree upon a set of international standards – something the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a Geneva-based United Nations agency, and 3GPP, a global mobile standards body, have pledged to do by the end of 2017, with the aim of rolling out services from 2019.

As a basic guide, in 2014, the GSMA, the global mobile operator trade body, offered eight criteria with which to define 5G technology, including the provision of connections of up to 10 gigabytes per second, one millisecond end-to-end round trips for data to reduce latency, a thousand-fold increase in bandwidth per unit area, and the capacity to handle up to 100 times as many connected devices.