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5G network aims for 2020 global rollout: Reports

Vision 2020 is the target for the global rollout of the 5G network, say reports. It promises to be vastly superior to the 4G network, with communication speeds of 10Gbps and greater.

SINGAPORE: Consumers in Singapore have been enjoying faster download speeds since the telcos launched their 4G services in 2012.

Despite the 4G network is still being under the deployment or planning stages in several emerging markets, work has also begun on the next generation of telecommunications technology.

According to reports, Vision 2020 is the target for the global rollout of the 5G network. It promises to be vastly superior to the 4G network, with communication speeds of 10Gbps and greater.

"5G to me is about two things, one is bandwidth, which means faster downloads and faster data speeds. The second is latency, which is how quick is it? How responsive is it?" said Partner and Head of Communications at AT Kearney Naveen Menon.

"Currently 3G and 4G networks are giving quite fast speeds, but have very slow response times compared to 5G on latency. Whereas 5G's latency is less than a millisecond, so it is almost real-time interaction," he added.

As Singapore marches in its quest to become a 'smart city', this greater speed and latency will allow holographic communication and other forms of virtual reality.

"In the Singapore masterplan which has been put out by the IDA, they're looking at transforming Singapore into a much more technological savvy country and city. In this they call for smart health applications, connected car, connected home, sensors above the ground. Now all of these technologies and all of these services that can be provided to individuals will significantly help people's lives. So this will be a key feature of 5G networks," said Menon.

There could also be further improvements to the 4G network before the 5G network is rolled out in 2020.

Earlier this year, Chinese telco giant, Huawei, introduced E-LTE, an enhanced version of its enterprise LTE.  It can be used for critical communication needs in areas such as public safety, transportation and also smart grids, all areas that Singapore wants to enhance via technological solutions.

"E-LTE is 4G-based technology. Huawei already has put in the resource for roadmap and planning for 5G architecture, hardware and software for equipment. And we will make the evolution smoothly from 4G to 5G technology," said Vice-President of Huawei Edward Zhang.

It is also expected that the use of 5G technology will permeate to all mobile devices.

Even as the technology is being developed, concerns are already being addressed about security threats and the vulnerability of data protection. 

This is a topic being discussed at the ongoing World Economic Forum.

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