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5G and Health > What is 5G?

What is 5G?

5G is short for ‘fifth generation mobile networks.’ It is a true game changer technology that will provide the underlying wireless infrastructure to support a host of new applications such as connected cars, virtual and augmented reality and the foundations for emerging smart city and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

4G vs 5G

4G vs 5G

What are the features of 5G?

Faster download speeds: 5G will provide much faster speeds than are achievable with today’s 4G networks. 5G is expected to provide speeds between 1GBps and 10GBps. This would mean a full HD movie could be downloaded in 10 seconds as opposed to 10 minutes today.

Lower Latency: 5G will also have significantly lower latency meaning very little lag (or buffering), with reaction times faster than the human brain. This will enable applications that simply aren’t possible today, such as: multiplayer mobile gaming, factory automation, and other tasks that demand quick responses.

Greater Capacity: 5G will also have vastly greater capacity so that networks can better cope with not only the rapidly increasing data demands of customers today but the growth of high-demand applications being planned in the future.

Real World Benefits – some examples

IoT devices – A wide range of connected devices. For example, O2 has found that 5G enabled tools such as smart grids and electric autonomous vehicles will save householders £450 a year through lower food, council and fuel bills.

Optimised services – utilisation of smart bins and intelligent lighting could save councils £2.8 billion a year.

Remote health services – NHS could see up to 1.1 million GP hours freed up through telehealth services.

Connected cars – 5G will be critical to connected cars which will require a constant and guaranteed connection.

Holographic video – industrial equipment could be controlled remotely helping increase worker safety and 3D medical imaging and remote surgery could become a reality.

What are the economic benefits of 5G to the UK?

5G has the potential to radically transform UK productivity and prosperity. In some cases, the potential of 5G has been likened to the fourth industrial revolution.

The Future Communications Challenge Group has estimated that the economic impact of 5G on the UK could be around £112bn in 2020 per annum, rising to £164bn in 2030, [1] In other words about £2,500 per head of population.  

O2 found that by 2026 the direct economic benefits of 5G rollout will beat those of broadband and these would be delivered almost twice as quickly as traditional fibre. [2]

The LEP Network states that early predictions suggest that manufacturing firms using 5G could see as much as a 1% increase in productivity, which if based on Q1 2018 manufacturing output could equate to an additional £1.78 billion over the course of the year. [3]

Qualcomm estimates that by 2035, 5G will support the production of up to £8.5 trillion worth of goods and services across the world.

[1] Future Communications Challenge Group
[2] O2 2018
[3] LEP Network 2018

What can local authorities do to ensure that your area can enjoy the benefits of 5G as soon as possible

Give strong political and executive leadership that emphasises the importance of mobile connectivity to the future prosperity of the area.

Empower a local senior digital champion who can ensure that planning and other access issues around mobile rollout are dealt with smoothly.

Give access to the assets of the public estate on a standard Electronic Communications Code basis.