2019 is the year 5G begins its long march

September 12, 2019 //By Jean-Pierre Joosting
2019 is the year 5G begins its long march
The term 5G has been exhausted to death, but 2019 is the beginning of a massive multiyear rollout. However, there could be significant bumps on the road ahead, both political and in terms of technology. For example, the role of mmWave still depends on trials and is still further out into the future. In spite of this, fixed wireless is where mmWave is getting the most attention.

Politics will play a big role in 5G as the USA and China in particular fight for dominance. In particular the USA has started looking to disengage from globalisation and has singled out 5G as a security issue with respect to China, and in particular Huawei. This has led to Huawei being banned form selling 5G networking equipment in the USA and some other countries, as well as being potentially denied access to US technology from American companies such Qualcomm, Intel and Google (Android). As with all things political the situation is fluid and uncertain.

China has already started steps to ensure it does not find itself vulnerable to the whims of trade politics in the future, and for Huawei in particular this means fostering home grown technology to replace what it cannot import anymore. Whether other regions, like Europe, take heed of the message that global trade has changed in nature and look to be more self-reliant in the future remains to be seen.

An example of this is the recent announcement by Huawei of HarmonyOS, a microkernel-based distributed OS for all platforms including mobile phones, wearables, laptops, and televisions. Based on a modularised concept, HarmonyOS can be nested and adapted flexibly to any device to create a seamless cross-device experience. HarmonyOS can run Android apps and is a potential replacement for Android, though Huawei insist they will continue to use Android on their smartphones for the foreseeable future. Currently HarmonyOS is being targeted at Internet of things (IoT) devices.

Politics aside, one of the key drivers of 5G infrastructure is the IoT. Fortune Business Insights in its latest report details how the IoT is rapidly evolving and is driving the global 5G infrastructure market to high double digit growth.


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