9 Nov 2018

5G Technology3 min read

Manifest Pedagogy

The topic can lead to prelims questions on the new terms like ‘Holographic call’. The question is not just expected because of events around the world, but also governmental focus on 5G under the ‘New Digital Communications Policy – 2018’. The applications in governance and the question on digital divide are the focus areas in this issue.

In news

A variety of operators across globe have announced 5G trials and network launches.

Placing it in syllabus

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  2. Awareness in the field of IT
  3. Physical Infrastructure

Static dimensions:

  1. Electromagnetic spectrum
  2. Generations of Mobile communications

Current dimensions:

  1. Technology in 5G
  2. Advantages and risks involved in 5G
  3. India’s readiness to 5G


5G is put on trial in UK in October, 2018. Vodafone has made the first 5G holographic call. In 2018, US telecoms giant Verizon and Korean Telecom (KT) held what they said was the world’s first live hologram international call over the two companies’ trial 5G networks.

What is 5G holographic call?

High-speed 5G networks could lead to big changes, through applications like holographic call, in how we use our mobile phones, allowing us to enjoy virtual reality on-the-go, interactive live broadcasts, and even project holograms from our handsets.

Through hologram calling, one can meet a person in a remote area in a real size in real time virtually.


5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications.

5G can include lower frequencies, from 600 MHz to 6 GHz. However, the speeds in these lower frequencies are only modestly higher than new 4G systems, estimated at 15% to 50% faster.

It succeeds the 4G (LTE/WiMax), 3G (UMTS) and 2G (GSM) systems.

Comparison from 1G to 5G:



1G 2G 3G 4G 5G
Evolution Year 1970-1984 1980-1999 1990-2002 2000-2010 2010-onwards


Bandwidth 2Kbps 14.4- 64kbps 2 – 200Mbps 1Gbps 1Gbps and higher
Standards AMPS/NMT/TACS TDMA/CDMA/GSM WCDMA/CDM A-2000 Single Unified Standard Single Unified Standard
Multiplexing Techniques FDMA TDMA /CDMA WCDMA CDMA CDMA
Switching Techniques Circuit Circuit Packet except circuit for air interface Packet Packet
Handoff Techniques Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal Horizontal and Vertical Horizontal and Vertical


Advantages of 5G:

  1. 5G performance targets include high data rate (100 times the speed of 4G), reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, higher system capacity and massive device connectivity.
  2. In addition to simply providing faster speeds, they predict that 5G networks will also need to meet the needs of new use-cases such as the Internet of Things as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications in times of disaster.
  3. It will be used for training and simulations in sectors like engineering and healthcare.


  1. 5G will also bring a cost to consumers. It requires a compatible handset, and the first 5G-enabled smartphones are expected in 2019. Much more investment will be needed in mobile phone towers and antennae.
  2. With the slow pace of network rollout so far, it is likely consumers will end up upgrading to a new 5G phone well before 5G becomes widely available in the next couple of years.
  3. Media companies delay investing in new applications or simply charge us extra to access the latest 5G content.
  4. Many people may not be able to afford the first 5G-ready handsets or accompanying equipment like VR glasses. There is a risk it could widen the digital divide in the short term.
  5. It is sceptical that everyone will start wearing VR headsets in the street.

Scenario in India:

Premium smartphones capable of delivering 5G speeds will be available in India by late 2019 or early 2020, in line with global availability, making their way faster to the country than any previous generation.

Considering the readiness of India in terms of Technology Transfer, economic viability and affordability for research on 5G, we may have to wait and see the positives and negatives of it. With the encouraging factors like demand, demography and entrepreneurship opportunities India may have to bite the bullet at early stages to achieve long term benefits of the technology.

Test Yourself: Mould Your Thoughts

What are the features of 5G technology? Compare 5G with its predecessors. How will 5G technology widen or bridge the digital divide across the world and in India?

1 Response

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