Mobile 5G services will be in operation by 2020, based on the latest agreement brokered by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
The creation of the IMT-2020 plan has been overseen by the ITU, and the roadmap was agreed at the latest meeting of the ITU-R (Radiocommunication) Working Party 5D in San Diego, California.
The agreement relates to the development of the goals, processes and timeline for the development of 5G mobile systems, rather than the technical performance requirements. The ITU said that this would be the next stage in its work now that the IMT-2020 timeline has been agreed.
ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao said that setting a clear marker to ensure that 5G will be live and operational by 2020 is an important step forward for the mobile industry.
“The buzz in the industry on future steps in mobile technology - 5G - has seen a sharp increase, with attention now focused on enabling a seamlessly connected society in the 2020 timeframe, and beyond that bringing together people along with things, data, applications, transport systems and cities in a smart networked communications environment,” he said.
“The ITU will continue its partnership with the global mobile industry and government bodies to bring IMT-2020 to realisation.”
The ITU-R Radiocommunication Assembly will meet in October 2015 to formally adopt the IMT-2020 strategy.
5G is expected to radically alter the mobile landscape with huge speeds and greatly reduced latency. This will usher in a new era of technologies such as connected cars, smart city systems, and the ability to download huge amounts of data, such as HD films, in seconds.
Tests at the University of Surrey have already achieved a 1Tbps connection which is unlikely to be mirrored in real-world speeds, but gives some indication of how much faster 5G will be than current 3G and 4G services.
5G is also seen as a key technology in getting the rest of the world online, as rolling out mobile services in remote parts of the world is far simpler than fixed line services, something Zhao outlined to V3 last year during an interview.
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