Technology / #ForbesTechnology

March 13, 2019,   12:16 PM

Why Are We Still Waiting For 5G?

Hisham Ibrahim



Image source: Shutterstock

It is worth being patient. This new technology is expected to reach speeds of 10Gbps within the next five years.

What is 5G?

5G is the 5th generation of wireless communication, and it is currently in its final development stages. It is anticipated to be fully operational by 2020. Currently, most mobile device manufacturers are starting to implement 5G receivers on their newly created devices.

How did it start?

The origins of 5G go all the way back to the first age of wireless communications in the 1980s. It all began with analog signals, which died with the introduction of the new digital signal, declaring a new era of wireless communication.

From the beginning of this century, smartphones started to blossom, supported by wireless communications. 3G was born, offering the highest speed of communications at the time, starting from 200Kbps, reaching to 42 Mbps with the release of 3.5G and 3.75G.

In 2010s we have been introduced to 4G or LTE, which offered speeds of 20Mbps as minimum, with speeds up to 2000Mbps, but it came with a price, as energy consumption was higher than 3G.

And here we are, standing on the door steps of the third decade of the century, waiting for 5G to be released to experience the fastest wireless communication, which are expected to reach 10Gbps within the next five years. 

What makes 5G special?

The most intriguing feature that 5G will offer is high communication speed, starting from 400 Mbps. As the technology and infrastructure develops, it is expected to reach 3Gbps within the first three years. 

In testing stages, German communications company T-Mobile was able to reach a top speed of 2Gbps using a 5G connection.

Another important feature is solving the current generation’s energy consumption problem, which causes a headache for both users and manufacturers. In addition to this, the new technology guarantees wide coverage of the network and empowers the receiving signal on supported devices.

5G and MENA

STC (Saudi Telecommunication Company) is doing internal tests to test the 5G network in KSA, using 3.5GHz network frequency. It announced that it was able to get 1.3Gbps connection speed. This is considered an important step, as technology normally reaches Middle East at a slow pace. Now we see Middle East companies on the same steps as the rest of the world.


Despite being in its infancy, 5G has great potential that will open the door to using technologies like AI, IoT or Augmented Reality more widely in future.

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