Real 5G probably not until 2022 or later but things called 4.5G and 5G will be deployed sooner

The actual benefit of going from 3G to 4G mobile have been disappointing.

Michael Peeters, wireless CTO at Alcatel-Lucent, is therefore frustrated with the industry’s approach to 5G technology. Companies are throwing into 5G pretty much everything that was not included in earlier technology evolutions, with examples including massive MIMO, machine-to-machine (M2M) and millimeter-wave technologies. Further, he noted some companies are arguing that intellectual property and assets that they possess should be considered 5G components even though 5G has not even been defined.

* 5G technology will not be deployed until companies prepare themselves for “4.5G” which involves deploying small cells so that costs can go down in congested areas.
* Any significant upgrade (such as actual 5G technology) will not truly be ready until at the least 2022-2023.

While LTE and LTE-A deployments are still underway, wireless carriers and vendors have already embarked on R&D projects to develop 5G standards, which offer even higher data rates than LTE-A. SNS Research predicts that fully commercial 5G services will be rolled out by the end of 2020.

With over 265 fully commercial network launches, LTE adoption has considerably gained momentum throughout the globe, and a number of carriers have already deployed LTE-A features such as carrier aggregation. SNS Research estimates that LTE service revenues will account for $103 Billion in 2014. Revenues are further expected to grow at a CAGR of 40% over the next 6 years.

Driven by these revenue prospects, operators continue to aggressively invest in LTE infrastructure, encompassing macrocell base stations (eNBs), small cells and EPC/mobile core equipment. LTE infrastructure spending is expected to account for nearly $15 Billion by the end of 2014. LTE and LTE-Advanced service revenues are further expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 40% over the next 6 years, eventually accounting for $672 Billion by the end of 2020.

Huawei released a plan to evolve 4G network technology to what it considers 4.5G vision at the GSMA Mobile 360 Series. It is expected to be launched in 2016. Huawei’s plans for 4.5G will lead mobile communications into the Gigabit era for the first time, and will spearhead the next phase of the revolution for the communications industry to enable people to enjoy an increasingly intelligent lives. Huawei’s 4.5G technology will aim to provide users with ultra-high definition, 3D and possibly holographic videos. It opens the era of Internet of everything as well as service-oriented network architecture prior to 5G being commercialized.

Key features of 4.5G technology include the ability to have lower latency at 10ms, a peak download rate of around 6 Gbps and the support of 100,000 connections within a one kilometer square. These present new challenges for network designs which need to support new techniques for air interface, spectrum frequency and architecture. These include higher order multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO), massive Carrier Aggregation (CA), Semi Orthogonal Multiple Access (SOMA), shorter wireless scheduling time, the use of unlicensed spectrum, open and agile network cloud architecture to facilitate quick new services deployment.

Europe has a Horizon 2020 research project. It has a budget set at €6.2 billion ($7.7 billion), of which €700 million has been allocated to 5G research. In December 2013, the European Commission also kicked off a public-private partnership within the Horizon 2020 framework called 5G PPP that will now also see the private sector invest a combined €4.2 billion.