Publicado em Aug. 9, 2022

5G has arrived! What to expect from it?

The new generation of mobile communication promises many features, but actual use will depend on a set of coordinated actions to create tools that use their full potential

5G has arrived! What to expect from it?

The new generation of mobile communication promises many features, but actual use will depend on a set of coordinated actions to create tools that use their full potential

In November 2021, Anatel concluded the largest frequency auction ever held in Brazil, offering the market several bands, some of them already auctioned in the past, but without bidders, such as the cases of the 700MHz and 2.3GHz bands, and other new ones, such as the 3.5GHz and 26GHz bands, intended for the activation of 5G in Brazil.

It is not new that 5G is in the headlines, but more recently it has been an almost daily topic in all media, as a result of the beginning of its activation in Brazil. To date, it is already in operation in the cities of Brasília, Belo Horizonte, João Pessoa and Porto Alegre, and certainly other cities will be on the list until the publication of this edition, including São Paulo, the largest Brazilian city.

But what is 5G and what are the improvements it will provide for society?

One of the questions I get the most and to everyone's surprise I usually say that, at first, we won't feel much difference! The astonishment is due to the fact that we always hear that 5G will allow us to do everything, it will be the solution to all problems and the most popular examples of its application are repeated: surgeries performed remotely and autonomous cars. That's when I start to explain that, for this to happen, it will take a lot of work, collaboration and involvement of many initiatives from academia, industry, society and government. To understand this evolutionary process, let's start from the beginning.

What makes 5G different from previous generation networks? 

5G is composed of 3 fundamental pillars, from which its differentials are created: advanced broadband (eMBB, enhanced Mobile BroadBand), which will allow connections at high rates, often exceeding 1Gbps of download; high density of connections (mMTC, massive Machine Type Communication), which, in addition to improving energy efficiency, allows millions of connections per km2 and will take the Internet of Things to another level; and critical mission control (URLC, Ultra Reliable Low Latency Communication), which guarantees high reliability and very low latency in communication.

Figure 1 – Pillars of 5G

The union of these 3 pillars is what makes 5G something so different, compared to previous generations of mobile communications or even other technologies, such as WiFi. Another point as important as the 3 pillars is the ability, in the latest versions of the 5G standard, to slice the network and configure each of these slices differently.

Precisely because it has such significant differences from previous generations, 5G will not bring so many differences to our daily lives, or at least not immediately or directly. A 1Gbps transmission will not make a difference when watching streaming content, moving around, ordering delivery of a product, okay, it will allow you to download content 10 times faster than on 4G, but in practice, will it really make a difference in our everyday life? I don't believe. 

What are the possibilities with the 5G connection? 

Smart Cities

Due to the characteristic of transmitting high data rates, with high connection density and low latency, if we expand the use of connected sensors in a city, for example, we could manage several indicators in real time, and improve security, mobility, for example. , in addition to predicting scenarios, anticipating actions, reducing risks and negative impacts, then we are talking about innovation and disruption. However, this does not yet exist, and needs to be developed and integrated.

Smart Homes

The next generation of 5G mobile technology will bring innovative services to consumers and businesses, based on its characteristics of ultra-fast and more reliable connectivity, ability to connect a large number of devices and minimal response times. It is also considered one of the most important drivers of innovation and economic growth in the coming decades, responsible for the creation of thousands of new jobs. That is why we must also see 5G as an innovation platform, which will bring new services and the concept of an immersive experience, combining technologies such as Edge Computing, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), among many others, and the new applications that will be developed will have enormous potential to add value to society, contributing to cost reduction, efficiency and productivity gains and a better experience.

What would be the financial impact of 5G?

An internal study conducted by Deloitte estimated the financial impact that the use of 5G solutions will bring to the Brazilian economy, generated from the increased productivity of operations and cost reductions provided by the adoption of 5G solutions, and the result is a potential benefit of approximately BRL 590 billion by the year 2031. This same study by Deloitte estimated the estimated demand for software for open unbundled telecommunications networks and for 5G-based solutions, and came to the conclusion that there will be more than BRL 100 billion in software for 5G in the next decade.

As a curiosity, a recent survey carried out in partnership between the news site Mobile Time and the research solutions company Opinion Box, in April of this year, interviewed 2,041 Brazilians aged 16 and over who access the Internet and have a smartphone, was identified that Brazilians do not pay for applications, but accept advertising, and this detail is very important for the advertising market, as the smartphone allows direct access to the consumer and their behavior can be evaluated. Unlike conventional media, TV, radio and print media, smartphone advertising, done individually, can measure how long that consumer had access to the advertisement, when it was, how many times they interacted with it, and other infinity of data. that can better target advertising, providing consumers with content that is more interesting to them, in addition to being much more assertive for the advertiser. And we can imagine the benefits that Artificial Intelligence can bring when analyzing the profile and indicating the most adherent advertising to that consumer.

And is that important? It's very important! 

Brazil currently has more than one smartphone per inhabitant, according to an annual survey released by FGV. There are 242 million smart cell phones in use in the country, which has just over 214 million inhabitants [IBGE]. They are also the most sold, there are 3 cell phones per television, according to the FGV survey. And with the arrival of 5G, bringing high connection speed, we can start thinking about more immersive advertisements, 4K/8K quality content, augmented reality, virtual reality, soon we will even be able to interact with holographic advertising.

Another very interesting data from the Mobile Time survey is that 66% of Brazilians with smartphones subscribe to some video streaming, a jump of 10 points in a year. The smartphone has also become a classroom, either as a research tool for students and teachers, or as an interface for remote classes. For the first time, the report included the following question: Have you ever taken a course (remote mode) in which the content of the classes and tests were all via the app? 47% of respondents answered “yes”. And in a country with major deficiencies in education this is undoubtedly excellent news.

But what does all this have to do with 5G? All to do! The high connection speed of 5G will allow access to content, whether entertainment, educational or news, much richer and immersive, improving the consumer experience, better engagement, increasing audience and audiovisual media consumption.

The scenario is very promising, a lot of new things to happen in a short period, but the question remains, when will we have access to 5G networks?

Figure 2 – 5G activation schedule, according to Public Notice

Anatel's schedule determines that by 2029 all Brazilian cities will have access to 5G (figure 2), but considering that we have, in addition to the traditional operators Claro, TIM and VIVO, new entrants such as Unifique, Ligga Telecom, Brisanet, Sercomtel and Cloud2U, which come with different business models than usual for their regions of operation, I believe that the activation pace will be much higher and we will make unrestricted use of 5G much sooner than we expect. But that's a subject for the next article.


Brazil 5G Ecosystem Report – Product 3 – Demand for 5G-based digital solutions - November 2021 - Deloitte

Panorama Mobile Time/Opinion Box - Use of Apps in Brazil - June 2022

Panorama Mobile Time/Opinion Box Survey - The Brazilian and your smartphone - July 2022

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About the author

Fernando Gomes De Oliveira

Fernando Gomes de Oliveira estudou Engenharia de Computação na Escola Politécnica da USP, atua como analista de Governança e Compliance e é especialista em tecnologias de rede e sistemas de telecomunicações, como broadcast, serviços móveis (4G/LTE, 5G e WiFi 6), redes de fibra ótica (FTTx), investidor-anjo da Poli Angels, mentor em diversas startups, co-fundador da Roboyell, uma startup de AI com foco em visão computacional, e da KYtron, uma Deep Tech com foco em robótica.

Membro dos comitês de Inovação, Machine Learning e ESG na I2AI - Associação Internacional para Inteligência Artificial, do comitê de inovação da ABOTTs – Associação Brasileira de OTTs, colunista na Revista da SET, Conselheiro da OLA-CCI (Organização Latino-americana de Cooperação para as Cidades Inteligentes) e coordenador do Grupo de Trabalho sobre o 5G da ACATE - Associação Catarinense de Tecnologia.

Fala sobre o mundo digital, inovação, tecnologias ruptivas, futurismo, startups, pessoas, diversidade, educação, meio ambiente, 5G, IoT, cidades inteligentes e sociedade.

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