The KT telecom competition from the Korean ST Telecom has already showcased a demo of 28mm wave powered 5G producing speeds up to 20 Gbps. It will take the time to get to such an amazing speed but introduction at close to 5Gbps sounds quite awesome too. Qualcomm did announce the Snapdragon X50 that supports up to 5Gbps download speeds. The company's CTO has confirmed to Fudzilla that even the upload speeds will get to a few Gbps, without wanting to reveal an exact number.
The Korean KT Telekom boss was talking about the proper 3GPP licensed version of a commercial deployment in field technology by 2019. For what we know it might be late 2019, but it is still before the original 2020 timeline. Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Intel, Qualcomm, MediaTek, Huawei and a few others are working hard to lock down the 5G SIG standard in order to start working on commercial devices.
Things cannot get much faster as the 3GPP a telecommunication standardization body won’t finalize the specification, probably until early 2018. Only after that happens can we talk about the real and commercial implementation of 5G.
One very important thing to understand is that 5G heavily relies on 4G, and since 5G released on millimeter waves, it won’t be able to penetrate walls and some other obstacles. Therefore, companies including Qualcomm, Intel, Samsung, MediaTek are teaching their modems to do good propagation of the signal.
In case you cannot get a decent 5G signal the modem will fall back on 4G, and it will work, just slower. This is what happens to your phone today when you lose the 4G/LTE signal and 3G shows up on your screen.
The Internet still works, just much faster. That is the idea with 5G and 4G fallback mechanisms but if 4G gets to 1Gbps or even higher by 2019 and 2020, it won’t be that bad compared to a 5Gbps speed.
The 3G speed maxed up between 3.6Mbps and 7.2Mbit/sec for HSPA download. Compared with Cat 4 LTE at 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload, you will see that these two standards are a world apart. Now think about the fact that Cat 12 download speeds gets your Snapdragon X16 modem to 1Gbps download and 150 Mbps upload. Qualcomm has confirmed that the Snapdragon 800 from the next generation, the one we call Snapdraogn 830, will have a 1Gbps capable modem.
5G is going to be a big race as things are dramatically changing after a long time. Some companies including Hutchison, 3 used the introduction of the 3G to jump in as the first player and became a big player in some countries with 3G and now 4G.
Korea KT Telekom already has QAM 64 for uploads, carrier aggregation and some other innovative technologies that can speed up data transfer. And for those who will comment that we don’t need that much speed, I remember people repeatedly saying the same thing for the last two decades.
Older readers will remember 14.4 kbps and later 33.6 kbps modems that could barely download stuff at higher than 3KB/s (0.003 MB/s if you want) and even this sounded mind-blowing just two decades ago. Now an average iPhone or Android user is whining that it cannot get its 4K YouTube video open fast enough even though in an area where (s)he lives the internet “only” goes to 50 Mbps download (6.25 MBs) or 208333.33 times. Yes, you and your kids will need 5G, 6G and whatever comes after that - maybe a human brain direct download interface.