If you suppose 5G is overhyped, wait until you meet 5.5G


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Fewer than half of 5G customers say they’ve skilled enhancements in pace or reliability over 4G in keeping with a brand new survey, however that’s not going to cease some in telecoms pushing forward with efforts to ship an enhanced model branded 5.5G.

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The survey comes from comparability service Uswitch, which says that upwards of 16 million individuals within the UK now personal a 5G-enabled handset, however experiences with the community customary are combined. While some really feel their service has received higher, solely 41 p.c of 5G customers point out it has improved pace or reliability for them.

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Uswitch mentioned the survey outcomes got here from a pattern of two,000 adults throughout the UK.

There additionally seems to be digital divide between city and rural customers, with some within the countryside saying they’ve by no means been in a position to get a 5G connection, regardless of having a 5G-enabled handset. According to Uswitch, 17 p.c of rural customers with a 5G telephone mentioned they’ve by no means had a 5G service, in contrast with 6 p.c of these in built-up areas.

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One in six cell customers really feel 5G know-how is “overhyped”, which maybe isn’t shocking because the know-how continues to be comparatively early in its deployment and is being in contrast towards rather more mature 4G networks.

In truth, so far as the UK goes, 5G providers are nonetheless successfully being delivered by bolting 5G radio antennas to the identical community infrastructure used for current 4G providers. Many of the important thing talents of 5G, akin to ultra-low latency, very excessive knowledge charges or the flexibility to help many extra gadgets per cell than with 4G, are solely prone to be realized with upgrades to the infrastructure.

“After the promise of 5G delivering ultrafast speeds to our mobiles, it’s no wonder that many consumers still don’t understand what the fuss is about when compared to their everyday experiences,” commented Uswitch’s in-house telecoms knowledgeable Ernest Doku.

According to Doku, 5G must be able to delivering a prime pace of 20Gbps, and whereas customers are unlikely to see these speeds in follow, exams counsel that it may be at the least 20 occasions as quick as a 4G community.

“But it’s important to remember 5G was first trialled in the UK just three years ago, so this technology is really still in its infancy. We’re still only scratching the surface of what it can do,” he added.

Gartner director analyst Bill Menezes agreed, telling The Reg: “As the carriers continue updating their networks for 5G Standalone technology, users will increasingly experience the promised improvements in speed or reliability. But that will take time. It takes about 3-5 years to fully roll out a new mobile tech generation and we’re only a bit more than two years in.”

Kester Mann, analyst at CCS Insight, additionally agreed, telling us that “There’s little doubt that 5G has so far struggled to meet the sky-high expectations set by the telecoms industry. That could change when the technology is more widely adopted by businesses, but the dearth of new applications and services specifically for the consumer market has been a major disappointment so far.”

PP Foresight analyst Paolo Pescatore mentioned that many customers are as an alternative inserting better worth on their broadband connection into the house, given the rising significance of connectivity for all the family.

“It is apparent that some users do not have the desire for 5G, when 4G networks still do the job for what they need. Fundamentally, users want robust and reliable connectivity everywhere,” he mentioned.

Meanwhile, some distributors are already wanting past 5G.

This week, Huawei’s govt director David Wang gave a speech on the Global Mobile Broadband Forum extolling the virtues of 5.5G, and urging others within the trade to assist put together to “make the leap to 5.5G.”

According to Wang, 5.5G networks can be able to delivering 10Gbps experiences, supporting tons of of billions of connections, and “help us achieve native intelligence”, no matter that’s.

To get there, the cell trade first must set the requirements, and Wang mentioned that Huawei and others should work collectively to make sure that [3GPP] Release 18 is “frozen by Q1 2024”, as deliberate.

But some issues about 5.5G sound acquainted. It will name for mmWave frequencies, and “operators will need to acquire over 800MHz of spectrum from this band if they are to realize 10Gbps experiences,” Wang mentioned.

However, 6GHz can also be being thought-about as a possible band for five.5G, in keeping with Wang, which can trigger points in international locations just like the US the place all the 6GHz band has been made out there for unlicensed use and is already being utilized by Wi-Fi 6E equipment, with WiFi 7 to observe.

“We can also refarm the sub-6GHz spectrum to achieve ultra-large bandwidth for 5.5G,” Wang added.

But delving a little bit additional, it seems that 3GPP Release 18 is already being branded as 5G Advanced by others within the cell trade, akin to Nokia and Ericsson. So what’s Huawei as much as by speaking publicly about 5.5G?

“It kind of feels like Huawei has lost the battle and is seeking to disrupt the market by owning 5.5G,” mentioned Pescatore, who added that it “seems more a marketing ploy given its own struggles, for obvious reasons.”

Menezes was much more blunt, telling us “As for 5.5G, that’s something the vendors want the carriers to care about. Users can safely ignore it.”


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