April 15, 2019
THE Philippines has been fast catching up in communication technology as the competition in the borderless global market becomes tighter.
The country’s leading telecommunication service providers Smart and Globe have embraced the 5G technology to cater for the needs of business and industry for faster service delivery as well as consumer demand for improved speed in their devices.
The 5G is a fifth-generation type of wireless technology network designed for communication devices to have much faster transfer connection.
Dr. Weihua Wu, a professor at Communication University in China (CUC), said at a recent training-workshop in Beijing that 5G technology has changed the way people use devices, from desktops and laptops to smart phones.
“The most consumed platform now is mobile,” he told journalists, academicians and diplomats who were fellows of the China-Asean Center of Advanced Studies (CACAS).
“In five years, smartphones will be the king,” he continued.
The Philippines’ Smart Communication embraced 5G technology as early as 2018 while Globe recently announced that its 5G at-home service will be commercially available by the middle of 2019.
Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu said the 5G technology would enable Globe to use Air Fiber to deploy fixed wireless broadband to benefit individual customers and business clients. This Air Fiber internet, which uses fixed location wireless radio instead of fiber, can provide speeds ranging from 50 mbps to 100 mbps, Cu said.
Globe is partnering with Huawei, a China-based leading global provider of information and communication technology infrastructure and smart devices.
The influx of Chinese tourists, traders, investors, laborers, and students to the Philippines may have increased the demand for 5G technology, in addition to the increased transactions between the Philippines and China and other neighboring countries.
The 5G network is not used only on smartphones. It also works on sensors, thermostats, cars and even robots for speed and to avoid communication delays between devices and servers.
China, Japan, South Korea, the US, Germany, France, Spain and the UK have all embraced 5G technology that offers speed 20 times faster than 4G and maximum download speed of 20 gigabytes per second compared with 4G’s 1GB/sec.
According to professor Wu, 5G technology will make a remarkable change in online video culture and mobile gaming.
There will be more user-generated content (UGC) such as video logs (vlogs) and streaming compared with online application platform (OAP), he said.
“Online video might be the future,” he said, noting the significant growth in the number of 5G users around the world. In China alone, he noted that 50 percent of Chinese mobile users have switched to 5G technology.
“5G stands not only for the latest generation of cellular technology, but also reveals the upcoming future for online video production and consumption, as well as the shift of the whole media landscape to mobile communications,” he explained.
“Globally, mobile data traffic is expected to grow to 77 exabytes per month by 2022, a seven-fold increase over 2017, with video growing to 75 percent of the mobile data load in that time,” Wu said.
In five years, he predicted, China will capture 39 percent of the 1.1 billion global 5G connections, overtaking the US and Europe.
China’s online video market, led by Tencent Video, iQiyi, and Youku, reached 76 percent penetration in June 2018, showing a five-fold increase in the number of internet users in China over the past 10 years.
China has offered Asean countries its services in developing 5G technology.
Over the last five years, Southeast Asia has made headway, becoming one of the hubs of the so-called fourth industrial revolution as it embraced the latest technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, cloud computing and financial technology or fintech. The 5G technology is expected to boost these innovations to their fullest potential.
At present, internet service and mobile service providers in the region use 3G or 4G technology. However, 5G connectivity is expected to come with much higher bandwidth and reduced latency which could save energy and reduce costs.
Apart from the Philippines, Asean countries already have plans to develop and deploy 5G.
With 5G, webpages will load faster, videos will be downloaded and uploaded faster, sending data to a large number of users will no longer be a problem, and you can have more devices connected, up to one million per square meter.
But according to professor Wu, switching to 5G is not just about technology and speed; it is also about the politics of the technology. With half of China’s mobile users switching to 5G, who would not want to get a slice of that huge market?
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