Huawei and Japan’s NTT Docomo just completed the world’s first large-scale field trial of 5G mobile data, and the results were fast. Like, 11290 megabits per second fast, with one tenth the latency of even the best 4G connections. 5G may still be five or more years away from hitting Australian cell towers, but the future is looking rosy.
Tested in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 district — one of the busiest commercial areas in Japan, according to Huawei — the test transmitted data from a base station to ten 5G user equipment setups, running on 200MHz of bandwidth in the 4.5GHz frequency range: much higher than the 700-2600MHz range we’re used to with 4G and around 10 times the bandwidth. In reality, these results will be a little less ridiculous with thousands of users per tower like 4G has at the moment, but we’re still looking at a huge leap in mobile data performance.
The result of 11.29Gbps and 0.5ms latency is phenomenally quick. That’s even more promising than Vodafone and Nokia’s circa-4.5Gbps real-world tests in Sydney, although bettered further by in-laboratory tests by Telstra and Ericsson, and Optus and Huawei that hit a frankly ridiculous 35Gbps at the ultra-ultra-ultra-ultra-high 73GHz millimetre-wave frequency.
We’re looking forward to seeing how 5G matures. Telstra is a big part of the working group that’s going to define how it evolves and actually reaches the market, so Australia is going to be part of the next generation of mobile networks from the word go.