DEBATE: Should we really be that excited about the launch of 5G?

Britain is getting connected... maybe (Source: Getty)

Should we really be that excited about the launch of 5G?

Leon Emirali, an entrepreneur and investor, says YES.

5G is well worth the wait.

While there is no doubt that extra-fast internet speeds will be welcomed by consumers, we must look beyond our own mobile devices to see the real benefits of the 5G revolution. As we move towards embracing emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things, 5G connectivity will be vital.

This promises to be the most transformational upgrade of wireless connectivity to date. The reliability and speed of 5G will enable hyper-connectivity between people and machines like never before.

Smart cities will use 5G technology to collect and process data more efficiently. Hospitals will be able to deploy ambulance drones to disaster points. Swathes of ownership information about assets, such as houses and cars, will be transferred to the blockchain.

In short, 5G will make current technological fantasies a reality and propel us towards the next frontier of innovation. Oh, and we’ll be able to watch Netflix without any buffering.

Eleanor Fox, associate director at technology commercial strategy firm Cruxy & Company, says NO.

EE’s 5G launch this week is an elaborate marketing exercise that highlights the gulf between ideas and execution.

Despite EE promising “increased speeds, reliability and connectivity”, you won’t benefit unless you live in the right place and can afford a 5G plan (which starts at £53 per month).

And although EE is getting credit as the first network operator out of the blocks, the challenges facing the rollout have been underestimated.

Full UK coverage will take years, with yesterday marking the start of the first phase of three. EE’s deployment of 5G will be layered on top of the existing 4G network, which is still undergoing capacity additions. So we won’t see a full next-generation 5G network until 2022 at the earliest.

Government restrictions on Huawei’s involvement in the UK 5G network could impede the rollout even more. Huawei is to be excluded from core parts of the network, in part over security concerns.

If you were getting excited over the promises of super-fast connectivity any time soon, you’re likely to be disappointed.

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