Last week the biggest names in mobility gathered in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2019, the largest mobile industry event in the world, bringing together the latest innovations and leading-edge technology from more than 2,400 companies. While folding smartphones, IoT, Big Data, and VR headsets were some of the hottest topics among vendors and attendees, it was the fast-approaching release of 5G networks that seemed to generate the most buzz during the week. Following the event, there seems to be a push from the entire mobile ecosystem as a whole to get 5G to market in the coming months, with many industry players, from network operators to device vendors, bracing themselves for the massive changes to come.
US mobile service providers T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint have all announced 5G networks to be launched in 2019, while AT&T’s network, although technically launched late last year, is also set to be made available for use in the coming months. Meanwhile several mobile device manufacturers unveiled their 5G-ready models at this year’s event, many of which will be made exclusively available to specific network operators. Huawei’s foldable Mate X was announced as a 5G device as was Xiaomi’s Mi Max 3. While LG announced the V50 ThinQ, a 5G version of their existing V40 model, Samsung unveiled their Galaxy S10 5G, and several other companies such as OnePlus and Sony presented prototypes of their 5G devices currently in development. All of these models are scheduled for release in 2019, corresponding to the launch of the 5G networks of their chosen operators. As well as smartphones, manufacturers such as HTC and Qualcomm announced the development of a 5G ‘hub’ and 5G modem respectively, further illustrating the preparations currently in place by all of the major players in the mobile industry. However, as all of these developments and pushes for 5G’s release are made, it is the organizations and individual device users that are wondering, what exactly is 5G and how will it affect me?
Drastically improved speeds and connectivity
5G is described as “the next generation of mobile internet connectivity”. Its main and most talked about benefit is its faster speeds and more reliable internet connections than have ever existed before. With average download speeds of 1Gb per second, ultra-low latency and broadest-ever geographical coverage, 5G is a “quantum leap” compared to 4G. As well as the greatly improved speed and reliability, 5G networks also aim to lower the energy consumption and maintenance costs of existing networks to produce a global business model where expenses are lower and revenue from services is higher. With 1 gigabit per second throughput and over 1000 times more data volumes than some current networks, the capabilities of mobile devices will be radically advanced with 5G. Faster connections and reduced latency will allow users to do more things in more places. These changes and the major effect they will have on the large volumes of data processed will also create many new opportunities both inside and outside the world of mobility. For example, high speed networks required for video content will make for a better user experience for multimedia gaming, alternate reality and virtual reality. Ultra low latency services will ensure the smooth operation of mission critical operations like self driving cars and remote surgeries. Highly reliable networks are crucial for the application of emergency services such as real-time health monitoring devices and police and ambulance services. 5G networks will also likely help to power a huge rise in IoT technology allowing for a smarter, more connected world. Given these opportunities, unlike its predecessors (2G, 3G and 4G), 5G seems to be aiming for enterprise adoption before it becomes available for individual consumers, so what could this mean for businesses?
Mobile data explosion
With faster, more reliable connectivity, it is clear that 5G will bring tremendous benefits to enterprise mobility. With employees able to work and communicate with huge amounts of data online no matter where they are in the world, the remote working capabilities are greater than ever before. However, this explosion of data could also have negative effects on business and could cause serious issues for enterprise mobility professionals. The ability to download GB’s of data in seconds could see huge volumes of data consumed on a daily basis. With increased demand for high resolution live streaming, downloading, and multimedia gaming like VR and AR, the massive amounts of data required can quickly become uncontrollable. According to Ericsson, more than 90% of mobile data traffic is forecast to come from smartphones by 2022, while mobile data traffic is expected to increase by eight times to 107 EB per month, no doubt heavily influenced by the introduction of 5G, confirming that mobile data consumption is set to skyrocket in the next couple of years. And allowing employees access to these speeds and download capabilities without a reliable way to monitor usage levels could see users exceeding limits much easier than they realize, leading to ‘bill shock’ from the still relatively high cost of data plans. Although there are existing solutions designed to control mobile data consumption, there are concerns that many of these proxy and legacy gateway-filtering services may struggle to process the skyrocketing volume of data directed at them resulting in a weak link in the 5G mobile ISP chain. The costs involved in carrying and processing this mobile traffic will ultimately be passed on to the customer as has been the case with 3G and 4G, often placing gateway-based services out of budgetary reach of most organizations.
Corrata is ready
Corrata is 5G ready by design. As we already handle fiber line speeds, businesses will easily be able to make the transition to 5G connectivity without risking the cost implications of uncontrollable data usage. Corrata’s solution provides granular visibility and control over employee mobile data usage without the need for a proxy or gateway and therefore will not be compromised by the privacy or congestion issues often associated with these methods. With Corrata, enterprise mobility professionals can get real time visibility of data usage, set limits for individual employees, and enforce restrictions on non-business or data-heavy sites to eliminate unnecessary costs, even while using 5G and enjoying all of the new possibilities it is set to bring.