5G is the next generation of wireless network technology that will fuel innovation and transform the way we live, work, and play.
What Is 5G?
5G networks are a union of the physical and digital worlds and offer huge improvements in terms of speed, accomplishing up to 10Gbp—between 10 and 100 times more than 4G networks, capacity, multiplying the density of devices that can be connected per unit area by 100, scalability, security and energy efficiency. All with a 90% decrease in energy consumption. In a networked world, only an interconnected ecosystem can serve as a basis for the development of new business models, such as autonomous cars or connected, intelligent infrastructures. This technology is a key element for the future competitiveness of companies and will drivie innovation, growth, transformation and sustainability.
The first phase of international 5G standard specifications (from 3GPP) Release-15 was completed in April 2019 to accommodate early commercial trials and early deployments. The second phase, Release-16, is due to be completed by April 2020 for submission to the ITU as a candidate for the full IMT-2020 approval.
Some operators have already begun to roll out 5G networks in countries like the US and South Korea, albeit in strictly limited and non-mobile form. For example, US mobile network AT&T launched a 5G Wi-Fi hotspot service in a dozen cities in late 2018.
In terms of full mobile 5G network rollout, Verizon launched the first commercial service in Chicago in April 2019 and had 5G service in 30 US cities by the end of 2019.
Telefónica started their rollout in 2018 by transforming two Spanish cities, Segovia and Talavera de la Reina, into “5G living laboratories” working with Nokia and Ericsson. Vodafone Spain has also started the pre-commercial deployment of 5G network in central areas of Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Bilbao and Malaga. Other territories—most notably German—have only recently announced their 5G spectrum auctions.
With alignment of standards, network operators and devices, the second half of 2020 is likely to be the starting point for accelerated commercial deployment and adoption of 5G.
5G for Ferrovial
There are numerous opportunities ranging from installation and/or maintenance of the new infrastructure required by third-party Mobile Network Operators to operate a 5G network.
5G V2X connectivity will enable multiple vehicle-to-network applications and will allow implementing new and revolutionary services to road and highway users. It will permit users to download massive amounts of content and multimedia in real time, vehicle software updates, online vehicle diagnostics, enhanced positioning and navigation services, online payment of tolls, and more from the 5G device embedded in the car. 5G will also enable road operators to provide revolutionary road safety and traffic management systems in real time.
Given the obvious applications such as smartphones and other mobile devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), for example, will benefit tremendously from the speed and bandwidth provided by 5G, especially as the industry grows. Robotic surgery, autonomous vehicles, critical infrastructure monitoring and emergency services are just a few of the potential applications of 5G-enabled IoT.