Telus, Bell beginning 5G trials this year

25 May 2016

5G may still be in the ‘conceptual’ phase, but Canadian networks are taking the first steps towards making the next generation of wireless a reality.

Big-name carriers Bell and Telus will soon begin in-lab 5G trials, with hopes that establishing specs for the new technology will lead to a public launch in the next few years.

According to The Star, both carriers are partnering with other members of the Next Generation Mobile Networks consortium to write and finalize specifications for 5G. Fellow Canadian carrier Rogers, while not yet running its own 5G testing, will work with other industry bodies to determine technology standards.

What to expect from 5G

5G is set to be the next phase of wireless technology, with anticipated download speeds between ten and one hundred times faster than current 4G LTE standards. It’s a necessary next step that's becoming vital to the mobile world, as increasing demand for media pushes the limits of what’s currently available through 3G and 4G networks.

In order to make 5G happen, carriers are looking to wide, higher-frequency bands of spectrum to transmit data. The downside? Using these bands will require bigger antennas and more power to carry signals over long distances.

Extensive global trials and tweaking are therefore necessary to make fifth-generation wireless happen. In the US, both AT&T and Verizon have announced plans to test 5G in labs and outdoors this year, with Verizon in particular utilizing specially-designed sandboxes to begin field trials this summer.

What this means for retail and business customers is that 5G is coming, but you’ll have to wait. But expect lightning-quick downloads, lower latency, and cost-effective and efficient data and device use when the next generation of wireless arrives. 

Cell antenna image via Shutterstock



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