It seems like only yesterday companies were talking about how 3G would change the smartphone game, and then it quickly became 4G. Now, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has said it could soon be ready to start moving up to 5G.
In the technology world, one of the most important qualities for any product — whether it be a smartphone, a computer, or even just a wireless network — is speed. A computer could be dazzling beautiful and include lots of neat features, but it wouldn’t amount to much if it was slow. A smartphone might be a little bit better than another in many regards, but that impression won’t last long if it couldn’t keep up with competing devices.
Smartphones on today’s market have to maintain a competitive edge not only on their computing speed, but also on their connectivity speed. The introduction of 3G was the first notable step in the direction of emphasizing data transmission speeds for smartphones. After that, 4G popped up in no time, and 4G LTE has been gaining prominence recently.
The transition from 1 network type to another is not a simple task, and it often requires a large amount of infrastructure creation on the part of mobile carriers to get a network ready. In that regard, Korea has shown signs of trouble with upgrading networks. Though the carriers in the nation aren’t having particular issues with installing the necessary equipment to support 4G networks, they have been showing trouble profiting much from the upgrades. Korea’s two largest mobile network operators had been struggling to make profit off of their 4G networks for a year and a half as of late February.
Now, after a few years of 4G running on the market, Samsung has said that its made a significant step forward toward the creation of 5G. The South Korean company announced that it had developed a way to transmit files as large as high-definition movies in a matter of seconds. The company described 5G speeds as “practically without limitation.”
Though 5G is already getting talked about, it could still be a while before it’s seen by consumers anywhere. Many companies are still in the process of switching completing a 4G network, and it could be a while before they’re ready to move on to the next network project. As mentioned earlier, it takes a lot of work to install the infrastructure necessary to support a new network. If Korea is having trouble with profits on 4G, it would surely compound those problems by quickly switching to 5G, which would make 4G an undesirable, outdated network.
The transition could also be a big deal for smartphone makers. As Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is one of Samsung’s greatest competitors, it would be vital for the company to incorporate 5G into its phones as quickly as possible. Getting an edge on the newest technologies is key for these companies, and if Samsung were the first one to have commercially available 5G devices, Apple could lose even more of the prominence that Samsung has been stealing away recently.
According to Samsung, the aim for 5G’s commercialization is 2020. The European Union set a similar target. So clearly, the technology is far in the future — it’s not even certain if mobile carriers are looking at a 2020-timeline. In the meantime, consumers desiring high speeds might enjoy an upgrade to 4.5G networks in the coming years.
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