5G Technology is like the CONCORDE – Edward Oughton
The modern civilization has evolved drastically ever since humans first discovered the invention of the ‘WHEEL’ during the 4th Millennial BC. No one really knows the person who first invented the ‘WHEEL’. The WHEEL is considered the all-time greatest invention of mankind, which has impacted our lives in every which way. The WHEEL paved way for all the other innovations as it continues to keep rolling ahead with time. The facts cannot be denied that every invention ultimately succumbed to the pressure of humans’ greed to affect our lives with its pros and cons.
In 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell patented his discovery as ‘Telephone’, little did he envision about its ultimate future. The innovation from ‘Telephone’ to ‘Mobile Phone’ saw Finnish inventor ERIC TIGERSTEDT to file a patent for a pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone in 1917. Motorola became the ‘First Company in the World’ to demonstrate the ‘First Handheld Cellular Mobile Phone’ in 1973. The phone was demonstrated by Motorola’s John F. Mitchell and Martin Cooper’. Six years later in 1979, Japan’s Nippon Telegraph and Telephone launched world’s ‘First Commercial Automated Cellular Network – 1G Analog’ in Japan.
In the last four decades, the fast pace of tech innovations have seen a significant leap and bounds. From 2G to 3G, 3G to 4G and now the latest is the 5G – mobile revolution has changed modern living in multiple ways. Like every invention in the world, humans’ greed has created massive proportion of dangers for the world at large. The more sophisticated the technology advanced, the more the dangers became more evident. The magnitude of the dangers of the modern technology has created a dangerous world, as we have seen in recent times.
The 5G communications technology was first developed in April 2008 by M2Mi and NASA. Geoff Brown, CEO and the Founder of M2Mi, was partnered by NASA to develop Machine-to-Machine Intelligence to develop the first 5G Communications Technology. Eleven years later, on the 3rd of April 2019 South Korea became the ‘First Country in the World to adopt 5G’. Six South Korean renowned celebrities from K-pop stars and an Olympic Gold medalist became the ‘First 5G Customers in the World’ to use the latest tech innovations in real time.
South Korean three main telecommunication companies – SK Telecom, KT and LG Uplus added more than 40,000 users to their 5G network on the same very day to make South Korea as the ‘World’s first 5G Network’. This was the biggest achievement for the tiny nation South Korea to beat all the big IT players and nations of the world, in particular, China and the United States of America. Not to be left behind, Verizon launched its 5G services in the United States of America hours later after South Korea.
On the 4th of November 2019, China launched the next-generation’s wireless technology. China’s three State-run telecom operators CHL – Chin Mobile, CHA – China Telecom and CHU – China Unicom have opened 5G subscription offering 128 Yuan / $18 5G plans for 30GB data / month. With 5G commercial services available in 50 cities, China has become ‘World’s First Largest 5G Network’. The services are available in prominent cities like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenzhen and many other others.
An approximate 12,000 numbers of 5G base stations in Shanghai have been activated to cover the city’s key main outdoor areas. China has gone big unlike South Korea and the United States with limited select areas. China’s 5G commercial network is currently the biggest in the world. The Asian Super Power will have significant influence over global evolution in the 5G technology. It is believed that the scale of China’s network and competitive plans will have a significant impact throughout its supply chain.
China as the most populated nation has more internet users than any other in the world. As many as 850 million Chinese use smartphones. With 5G services extending to more Chinese cities in coming months, China will have more than 110 million 5G users by next year. In South Korea, only 3% of nation’s internet users make use of the 5G technology. Huawei – the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and a leading smartphone Chinese brand has played a key and significant role for China to dominate the world in 5G technology.
Ren Zhengfei’s Huawei has greatly influenced the 5G technology in the world. Its stupendous success worldwide has also irked the American President, who has launched a US campaign against Huawei urging countries to ban the company’s equipment from their 5G networks. Washington alleges Huawei poses a threat of spying and is a security risk for the Western nations. The company has denied all such baseless allegations. The world needs Huawei and many countries have bought their 5G products. Currently, Huawei is the leading supplier of commercial 5G products in the world, followed by Ericsson and Nokia.
On the 5th of November 2019 at China’s International Import Expo in Shanghai, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto disclosed that Huawei will take part in the construction of Hungary’s next-generation 5G wireless network. Huawei will be joined by Britain’s Vodafone and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom to develop the project in Hungary.
The 5G technology is supposed to revolutionize the modern day living experience with robotic surgeries, self-driving vehicles, toothbrushes automatically detecting sickness, remote control of home security, cars and multiple functions have attracted the attention of the gizmo-loved geeks and lovers. One wonders, when the world’s 3G or 4G is not able to provide enough signal strength in remote places in highly technology driven countries like America, Europe etc, how would the 5G change our lives? With the advent of 5G, are we really expecting too much as the futuristic vision?
The 5G technology will allow the data from cars, thermostats, sensors and robots to work together in real time to revolutionize modern living. Top-class surgeons can now perform robotic surgeries on serious emergency patients sitting far away in remote locations with the use of 5G technology. However, one cannot deny the fact that 5G is at present in its nascent stage. It will take many more years to completely have a global impact with its high cost of infrastructure and costly handsets.
Carriers around the world will have to invest trillions of dollars to deliver the 5G super speed promise for the world to enjoy the technology at large. American company Verizon’s 5G service is very erratic in nature with customers complaining every now and then. Verizon has been inconsistent with its coverage areas to frustrate customers, who have switched to 5G. It is estimated that it will take America another 6 to 8 years to upgrade thousands of cell sites to 5G. The downside has worried many carrier operators about the large investment.
Another downside of switching over to 5G is the price of 5G-compatible handsets. The cost of 5G-compatible phones range from $999 to $1300 and above, which is enormous for majority of users. The price is the main hindrance to increase 5G’s large base, which means less profits for carriers and operators. The 5G revolution will take another 10 years to make its global presence in true sense. High data plans will also make customers uneasy to switch over to 5G to increase their monthly budget.
Senior Research Associate Edward Oughton at the University of Oxford is continuously researching on 5G development. In an interview, he revealed, “The 5G technology is like the Concorde – the supersonic airliner flying twice the speed of sound. It did not revolutionize global travel, the jumbo jet did. The technology is very fast, but only a few wealthy users will be able to afford it at least initially, most of who will be in urban and suburban areas.”
The world is already facing the consequences of cyber attacks and hacking worldwide with prominent players like Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to name a few creating chaos around the world. The 2016 Presidential Election in America is one of the greatest cyber attacks by Russia to help Trump into the White House. Needless to say, with the new 5G technology in hands, hackers around the world will have ease to hack, attack and steal at will.
As the technology advances, life has become more dangerous instead of being secured and comfortable. Every nation will have greater risk of being penetrated via hacking and all the secrets hidden on clouds will be up for grabs to expert hackers in the world. This one aspect the inventor must have never thought of, when he invented the M2Mi. The world will have to wait and watch how the 5G is going to revolutionize the modern world.