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5G: The world's first commercial services promise "big step"

  Woman uses 5G services on a virtual reality device in Seoul in April 2019 Image copyright
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A woman tries 5G services on a virtual reality device in Seoul

This week, South Korea and the United States have launched the world's first commercial 5G services, promising a new wave of opportunities for smartphone users.

Samsung said the Galaxy S1[ads1]0 5G device will offer speeds up to 20 times faster than today's phones as it started selling phones on Friday.

Land racer to build 5G networks that will be crucial to future technology, such as carless cars.

Nations are also working to address network security issues.

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation mobile internet connection. Users will get more data faster, with less delay. It also promises broader coverage and more stable connections.

Ed Barton, chief TV and entertainment analyst at Ovum, said that the shift from today's 4G network to 5G will be significant.

He said first generation or 1G network enabled voice, 2G brought text, 3G static images or images, and 4G enabled video.

"We expect the leap from 4G to 5G to be a much bigger leap than ever before."

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Part of the "leap" comes from the ability to move much larger amounts of data across networks. 5G means more devices can be connected to the network at better speeds.

Nikhil Batra, senior research manager at Technology Consultant IDC Asia Pacific, said the speeds would be 10 times faster than possible with 4G. Samsung said the 5G will be up to 20 times faster.

What will 5G enable?

Basically, 5G will provide better quality and streaming to larger audiences – a better experience for people watching live sports or cloud gaming.

Ovum's Mr Barton said down the track it will allow more magnified reality capabilities, such as better mapping applications and shopping experiences. 5G will be essential for driverless cars.

The scope of the possibilities is great, from external surgery to holographic video calls. Mr Barton said we still do not know what "killer apps and use cases will be".

"It's a bit like no one predicted that ubiquitous smartphones with payments and space awareness would give rise to Uber," he said.

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Streaming sports are among the services that are expected to improve with 5G

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Where is it available?

The technology is being piloted in trials worldwide, but commercial applications are only available.

South Korea's three largest mobile operators launched 5G services this week, while US telecom Verizon also launched 5G services in parts of two cities this week.

DJ Koh, president of IT Electronics and Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics, said it has begun "a new era where the incredible speed and connection of 5G becomes a reality".

Frost & Sullivan telecom analyst Quah Mei Lee says South Korea and Japan have been leaders in the 5G development. She said South Korea has always been strong in consumer applications, but it is "more than it can do" in 5G.

"We will see more applications coming to the market over the next three to six months."

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South Korea is among the countries leading 5G development

What about security issues?

Much discussion about 5G infrastructure is centered on possible security risks, namely the participation of China's Huawei.

Huawei, the world's largest manufacturer of telecom equipment, has faced opposition from foreign authorities over the risk of technology being used for espionage.

The United States, Australia and New Zealand have all blocked local businesses from using Huawei equipment in 5G networks.

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In principle, technology at the heart of key communication networks controls that an operator like Huawei has the capacity to perform espionage or disrupt communication.

This becomes a bigger problem, as several things – from autonomous vehicles to household appliances – are connected to the Internet.

The United States claims that Huawei could use malicious software updates to spy on those using 5G, pointing to a Chinese law that states organizations must "support, collaborate, and collaborate in national intelligence work".

In addition, IDCs Mr. Batra said the basic difference between 4G and 5G networks is the ability of remote control to increase "potential security issues". [19659007] Mr Batra said with 4G, software and hardware were very closely connected. In 5G networks, hardware is separated from the software. . [19659007] Still, he said the authorities around the world are working with the operators to deal with these concerns, and "we haven't really seen any hard evidence of what's the problem".

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