The fifth generation of mobile phone technologies (5G) began to be implemented at the end of the last decade. Without four years having passed since its launch, smartphones with 5G connectivity are already more than those that continue to maintain 4G. Much of this progress is due to the speed with which this type of coverage is being deployed around the world, however, the 5G that is being applied is not the ‘real’ 5G that we were promised.

Rubén José Moreno Pablos, computer engineer of the Infrastructure Department at Hiberus Systems, explains to 20BITS that previous infrastructures are being used: “The 5G that they are now deploying in the first instance is not the definitive one because they are using broadcast frequencies very similar to the spectrum that uses 4G”. Because of this, the expert details that they are not getting speeds and latency that in theory the new generation could achieve.

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For real 5G to arrive, Moreno points out that it would be necessary to change the antennas and invest more money. The reason they would have to use other antennas is that “the higher the frequency, the less coverage distance is covered and the more difficult it is to penetrate walls and get inside buildings.”

According to the Hiberus professional, the definitive 5G application would involve the installation of antennas with mobile technology repeaters that were “very close to those who are going to use them.” The antennas should be placed next to homes or offices in which it was used, Moreno exemplifies.

About 1,500 million euros

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The 5G network deployment plan promoted by the Government contemplates the deployment or renewal of 14,500 sites, enabled for the new mobile generation.

The budget of the plan amounts to 1,405 million euros: 235 in 2021, 600 in 2022, and the remaining 570 in 2023. The award of the contracts will take place before the end of 2023, and their execution must end before the end of 2025.

The implementation of 5G is being uneven

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Although the progress of 5G is taking place rapidly (although it is not a ‘real’ 5G), there are experts who point out that its application is only being done in certain areas. Moreno underlines that the territories in which the application of 5G is being delayed the most they are “the towns with fewer inhabitants”.

Moreno comments that this is far from what was thought would happen with the new generation of mobile connectivity: “It was expected that with these changes [del 4G al 5G] the operators put the batteries in providing coverage to the populations of lower density and it is not happening. 5G is already deployed in many cities in Spain, but always in the most populated cities, never in smaller towns.

The future of mobile technology

Despite the fact that the deployment of 5G is not fulfilling (for the time being) what it theoretically promised due to the lack of the necessary infrastructure, Moreno highlights the research that is being done on future generations, such as the 5.5G or the 6G. “You will be able to transmit data at much higher frequencies, with higher speeds and lower latency,” she says.

6G research started before the 5G launch and aims to be ready by 2030.

The expert attaches great importance to latency, which is the time it takes for the data to arrive since the sender sends it. As he details, with 5G theoretically “a standard latency of 5 milliseconds is going to be offered and with 5.5G and with 6G it will be less than 1 millisecond“.

Through this evolution of mobile technology, Moreno mentions that it will be possible to carry out remote surgical operations for cases in which “neither the doctor nor the patient can move”. For this, a very low latency will be important, so that the data transmission is instantaneous.