5G in 2020 – what should we expect?

Last updated: 17 August 2022


The dawn of 5G networks is not far away. The most recent estimates point to 2020 as the year that fully standardized 5G networks will start to hit the market and deliver unprecedented levels of connectivity, but we should start to see their usage from 2018 at events such as the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. It’s an exciting prospect for a variety of reasons. 5G will follow a ‘network-of-networks’ approach, enabling the convergence of fixed and wireless networks to bring together an evolution of mobile broadband services, ultra-reliable critical communications services and the fruition of large scale IoT projects.

But what can we expect in 2020? What will 5G look like in the real world?

Firstly, we should recognize the key improvements of 5G. 5G won’t just bring significant data speed and bandwidth improvements, compared to 4G and 4.5G (LTE advanced); it will bring the possibility to customize the connectivity to the needs of a given consumer, enterprise, industry or government agency.  It will also bring new capabilities which are well suited to new connected device use cases.  For example, “low latency” response times provides real-time interactivity for services using the cloud: this is key for the success of new innovations such as autonomous cars. Adjacently, low power consumption for 5G IoT devices will allow connected objects such as power meters or sensors to operate for up to 15 years without the need for human intervention.

Unlike some of the present day IoT services which suffer performance trade-offs, in an effort to get the most possible from current wireless technologies, 5G networks will bring the level of performance needed for large scale IoT projects.

Overall, 5G will come with many improvements for mobile broadband, critical communications, V2X (Vehicle-to-Infrastructure) speed, latency and bandwidth. The benefits will include: 100x connected devices per unit area, 99.999% availability, blanket coverage and a 90% reduction in network energy usage.

So, what will some of the real 5G use cases be?

As mentioned, autonomous cars will serve as a good example of a real 5G use case as they will rely on very low latency response times. Enterprise cloud based services will also benefit from 5G as they run large scale data analysis; quick data rates will be crucial.

5G slicing (tailoring the characteristics of virtualized 5G networks to each use case) will also have a big part to play. This will enable the support of different enterprise, industry or government agencies’ communication needs concurrently, yet in a secure and isolated way, with the right latency/speed settings. It is designed to allow simple virtual network configurations to better align network costs with applications needs. This new and improved approach will help in many ways, but in particular will allow 5G MNOs (Mobile Network Operators) to enjoy a share of the IoT market by enabling the delivery of cost-effective connectivity solutions for low bandwidth and low power applications.

These are of course but a few examples – the number of use cases is expanding continually, which makes the future of connectivity all the more exciting both from a business and consumer perspective. But what now? What discussions are happening today to help shape the 5G connected world of 2020?

Next week is a special time for 5G – London will host 5G World as part of London Tech Week. 5G World is a global 5G focused high level conference and expo that attracts the world’s leading telecom operators, solution providers and IoT specialists together for debates and discussions that play a key role in defining the evolution of networks as we move towards achieving the best possible vision.

At the show, as head of our 5G Strategy, I’ll be giving a presentation on “Building a chain of trust from the device to the cloud” at 12:20pm on June 13 at the 5G World: Network Security Focus Day. Those attending will be given a chance to learn exactly how important it is that we build trust from the device to the cloud, and the new security challenges that come with 5G, and should leave with a better idea of how to secure virtualized 5G networks and devices being rolled out between now and 2020. It’s a topic I’ve picked up on in the past on this blog. I will tackle key issues in areas, such as:

  • 5G slicing
  • Software monetization
  • Segmenting security needs of major 5G use-cases

For more info on what 5G security will look like in 2020 and how to prepare for it, you can visit us at booth 5G 504 to discover how we’re working to create an end-to end chain of trust in 5G, or ask us for insight into your own company’s compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). You can also learn more from our dedicated 5G page.

Will you be attending 5G world? And what do you think the future holds for 5G networks? Let us know by tweeting to us @GemaltoMobile or @Gemalto, or come see us at the event to meet our team. You can register online here.