The new mobile radio standard 5G is supposed to revolutionize our society. It promises data transfer in real time, enabling autonomous driving and much more. A portrait about the future of digitization in Germany.
The mobile industry is working logically and consistently. She always numbered her technology generations.
1G stood for the analog voice transmission. 2G opened the digital world for us. 3G made Internet speeds significantly faster with a Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS).
And 4G is the current standard running Long Term Evolution (LTE), which already enables high data speeds. Development between the generations has never stood still. That’s why there were always intermediate stages again.
Now Germany is facing the fifth generation, which is the subject of heated debate in the media. In this article we want to introduce you to 5G in detail.
What is 5G actually?
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 5G is the fifth generation in mobile communications. The new standard has been developed since 2016 by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). The 3GPP is a worldwide cooperation of bodies for the standardization in the portable radio.
5G is a pure data network, which is based on 4G. So you can not telephone over the LTE successor. Who in the future leads a mobile call, will continue to do so via the 4G network.
However, with the new generation of mobile phones also very different hopes connected: 5G is not only mobile phones, but also connect farms, cars and factory robots.
In other words, 5G is supposed to network the entire world digitally.
What should 5G mobile networks do?
The new network standard is intended to secure the competitiveness of Germany as a business location. So far we are far behind in terms of fast internet.
The big advantage of 5G is the speed. Compared to LTE, the capacity of the networks should increase significantly. For the industry and economy, the ultra-fast Internet plays a central role in remaining competitive. Users can look forward to faster and more stable connections later.
5G is designed to transmit data at a rate of up to 20 gigabits per second. This is 100 times faster than a reasonable 4G connection.
The latency, ie the time it takes for information from the sender to the receiver, is then a maximum of one millisecond. This is especially important for autonomous driving, but more on that later.
First of all, with 5G, significantly more devices can be active in one and the same network. Theoretically, it should be up to one million per square kilometer.
Mobile phone companies pay just under 6.6 billion euros for 5G frequencies
To enable the expansion of 5G, the Federal Network Agency auctioned the 5G frequencies to the four mobile service providers: Deutsche Telekom (2.17 billion euros), Vodafone (1.88 billion euros), Telefnica (1.42 billion euros) and newcomers 1 & 1 Drillisch (1.07 billion euros).
Blocks were auctioned in the 2-gigahertz and the 3.6-gigahertz frequency range. The 2-gigahertz blocks were significantly more expensive, because these frequency ranges also achieve higher ranges. The blocks are, however, available from 2021 at the earliest.
At the auction, each company withdrew into an isolated room and offered. After each hour, the auctioneer announced who the highest bidder was. Then the next round started.
The mobile operators offered so long, until no further bid was received. In the end, it took 497 laps in more than twelve weeks. The longest frequency auction in Germany, which ever took place, ended on Wednesday evening of June 12, 2019.
The four mobile phones are allowed to use the increased frequencies until 2040. With the admission notifications, they also get the setting decisions about the payment obligations pressed into the hand.
Then you have 65 banking days to transfer the respective bid amount. The money – a total of 6.6 billion euros – flows directly into the federal budget. 30 percent of the money goes into the digitization of schools. The remaining 70 percentollollen according to thedaily Newsbe invested in network expansion.
The companies may not stop the expansion of 4G. They are required to provide at least 98 percent of households with 4G by the end of 2022. First of all, 5G is aimed at a different target group.
5G for autonomous driving and telemedicine
The new wireless standard is initially primarily for industrial applications. This is due to the extremely fast speed, as we have already mentioned.
That’s why 5G is often cited as a prerequisite for autonomous driving. After all, a car must immediately communicate with surrounding vehicles to ensure a regulated flow of traffic and avoid accidents.
Logically, autonomous cars must also be able to drive in dead spots. And 5G can not guarantee that. The new mobile standard does not bring any additional network coverage.
In addition, with 5G doctors will also be able to operate remotely in the future by controlling robots via the new networks. Cities and factories should also be networked in this way and drones should then be controlled and controlled.
As a private user, we can also benefit later on when sensors for electricity, water, monitoring, temperature and smoke detectors are networked together. If we have a smart home, we can remotely control it.
When are the first 5G networks and 5G smartphones available?
The German Telekom wants to offer 5G already this year with a bookable tariff. Currently running tests. Some antennas are already active in Berlin. But because the auction has taken so long, according to experts, at the earliest in 2020 to expect new mobile phone contracts.
In the conditions for the auction of the 5G frequencies, there is also only a minimum expansion commitment for the new generation. By the end of 2022, network operators will have to set up 1,000 base stations. These are very few. Therefore with 5G no dead spots will disappear.
Central to the success of 5G is the networking of mobile sites via fiber optics. The new mobile phone needs fiber optic cables and thousands of new transmission towers.
Telekom has already announced plans to reach 99 percent of households with a 5G network by 2025 in Germany. Then frequencies should become free, which allow 5G nationwide.
The first manufacturers have already announced devices for this year. These include Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi and LG. Prices and dates for publication are not yet available.
By the way, a 5G smartphone requires a corresponding chipset. This can not be retrofitted to older devices. So it really has to be a new mobile device.
Spain is the first European country to start with 5G
Therefore, the new mobile radio standard is still a dream of the future for most private users. At the beginning of June, however, Spain became the first European country to start regular operations with 5G. Vodafone wants to launch the superfast Internet in 15 cities.
Initially, the new standard is available there only with a device from Xiaomi, the Samsung S10 5G and the LG V50. iPhone users are therefore out there, but can rent a 5G smartphone at Vodafone.
That costs at least 20 euros per month. For the cheapest 5G contract, you also have to scroll 50 euros a month. Significantly more than for classic cell phone contracts.
German tourists should not benefit from the 5G offer in Spain. They would need a 5G mobile phone contract in Germany to use the fast network in Spain via roaming. But these contracts do not exist yet.
Is 5G harmful to health?
The effects of 5G on health are controversial. With 5G there will also be more radio radiation – more electromagnetic radiation.
Inge Paulini, President of the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS), saidPassauer New Press: “Significantly higher data transmission volumes, new and additional transmitters and higher frequencies change the radiation intensities. These must be investigated. “
The high-frequency fields have a warming effect. This is clearly proven. In mobile radio, however, this effect is much lower than, for example, in microwaves, where there is scientific evidence of the harmful effects of the rays.
In addition, there are limits to exclude a harmful effect. For example, the so-called SAR value should not exceed two watts per kilogram on the head or ear.
The SAR value results from two measurements: when telephoning on the ear and while wearing the smartphone on the body.
These values can be found in the manual of the device and online in a database of the BfS, which is regularly updated. A value of less than 0.6 applies among experts as low-radiation. The smartphones with the highest radiation we had already introduced to you some time ago.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says cell phone radiation may be carcinogenic. Opposite the weekly magazinestarHowever, Gunde Ziegelberger from the BfS clearly opposes this: “We have no proof that the use of smartphones in compliance with international limits could cause cancer.”
Discussion about Huawei and G5
For neat Zndstoff also causes the discussion, the Chinese Huawei Group in the construction of the 5G network in Germany to participate. The fear: Chinese authorities could spy with the help of Huawei.
Huawei is considered a pioneer in network technology for the next mobile generation. Should the Group be excluded, the cost of network expansion could increase. Because the products of the Chinese supplier are regarded as cheap and productive high quality.
That would logically also delay the expansion of the network and throw back Germany as an economic country.
Summary: 5G is especially exciting for the industry
As private users, we will hardly benefit from the new mobile network. The current LTE technology is completely sufficient for our needs. It would be desirable, however, that the current mobile network is enlarged nationwide.
5G is aimed primarily at the industry. The new wireless standard can serve as the basis for self-driving cars, medical robots and digitized factories. There are also intelligent traffic management systems in the pipeline, which we as citizens would naturally notice positively on the street.
Probably only the big cities of 5G will profit for now. The network construction costs a lot of money. And to make the new mobile network really possible everywhere, hundreds of thousands of antennas would have to be built.
So until 5G is really operational, there are still some obstacles to overcome.
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