It’s been bubbling under for the last two or three years in Barcelona but this year at MWC it was all about 5G – from smartphone makers to mobile carriers to hardware manufacturers.
Huawei and Samsung showed off their 5G phones Mate X and Galaxy Fold, featuring innovative flexible displays while silicon vendors trumpeted their 5G-ready chipsets and SIM cards. Qualcomm announced new reference designs for sub-6GHz and millimeter-wave wireless modems, a 5G module meant for laptops and desktops and new automotive 5G systems for connected car applications.
Wireless equipment vendors were keen to suggest that more 5G customers and new capabilities are taking 5G to the tipping point. Nokia boasted a new 5G gateway for mobile network operators with speeds 10 to 20 times greater than 4G LTE, while not to be outdone, Ericsson, heralded the first tweet sent via a commercial 5G network from MWC. Another 5G big beast, Cisco, showed off new high-capacity routers meant to help carriers cope with the increased bandwidth demands of 5G and pledged $5 billion in 5G investments.
It was like the 5G gold rush – everyone was trying to carve out their future in the new era. But despite the 5G conversation having matured since last year, parts of the industry standards that will enable 5G still haven’t been ratified and widespread deployment and uptake is still many years away.
And while I am at it, I still lose any connection twice on my 15 minute drive to the office! Let’s sort out ubiquitous 4G (or even 3G) before we get too excited.