Next-generation mobile networks are expected to handle more data, connect more devices, significantly reduce latency and bring new levels of reliability. 5G has been designed to meet these needs by pooling bandwidth to boost range and speed.
Set to arrive around 2020, 5G is quite different from its predecessors. More than a new generation of technologies, 5G denotes a new era in which connectivity will become very fluid and very flexible. Networks will adapt to the application, rather than the other way round. Performance will be tailored precisely to the needs of the user.
What will be the new business opportunities: Consumers will be able to transmit live 360 degree video from their handsets, while vehicles, robots and drones will be able to continually exchange information. Anything of value could be connected and tracked. Indeed, 5G will enable a step change in the number of connections mobile networks will be able to support.
Even conservative estimates suggest that by 2025, the number of Internet of Things connections will be more than double the number of personal communication devices.
As the upgrade to a new 5G network will require an entire reworking of existing networks - on top of the fact that hasn't yet even been defined - we're still a couple of years away from seeing anything meaningful happen.
However, despite not knowing exactly when or what form 5G will arrive in, one thing we can say for sure is that the next generation of network will create a better interconnected and smarter world.