Gigabit mobile phones teased for the 5G road map

18 May 2013 by Steve Blum
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It’s more than a 5 year mission to the next generation.

Samsung’s latest mobile technology announcement could result in faster mobile data traffic running on much higher frequency bands. Speeds of up to 1 Gbps on the 28 GHz band have been claimed, using antenna designs that are intended to mitigate the poor indoor penetration and range associated with millimeter wavelengths. It’s experimental – the commercialization target is 2020 – and intended to be a foundation for 5G service.

5G is undefined at this point, except that it’s whatever the next big step up from 4G will be. Deployment is assumed to be some time in the next decade. It’s likely to involve more densely packed cells with smaller coverage areas, including in-home femto cells and distributed small cells outdoors. Plus a healthy dose of WiFi offload.

If you make cell sizes smaller, you can use spectrum more intensively. Samsung’s technology fits well with that approach: whiz-bang antennas notwithstanding, higher frequencies are more useful at shorter distances.

Whatever it turns out to be, developing 5G technology is absolutely necessary. Mobile traffic continues to increase and the amount of spectrum available is finite. Making use of other bands, like Samsung is doing, will be one piece of the puzzle. 5G will encompass a range of technologies and approaches.

Qualcomm has made “1000x” its mantra. If mobile traffic more or less doubles every year, the compounded growth will be one thousand times in less than ten years, outstripping the capacity of 4G technology. That’s why technology leaders are putting markers down on 5G technology today.