5G is a technology that will revolutionize communications. It will do this because of its enormous ability to transmit information, the minimum latency (the period that data takes to come and go between senders and receivers) and its ability to connect a multitude of devices. He's already here. And yet it's hard to use it. The industry is still looking for formulas and exploring its possibilities. And the average user still doesn't understand what advantages that revolution will bring, which demands, in addition, a large disbursement to choose one of the few existing terminals compatible with the new generation. "Technology has been ahead of needs identification," explains Mercedes Fernández, Innovation Manager at Telefónica. The absence of a definitive ordering of the frequency band to be used - to be tendered next year - does not help either.
"There is a need for services that take advantage of the special capabilities of 5G. That's why pilot projects are made that promote uses and services. These are needs that we still have to find in the customers", adds Fernández, who explains that, for now, they have focused on the business sector. That's where Telefónica is looking for allies to find definitive meaning for the fifth generation of mobile telephony. It is doing so through its 5G Tech Cities project, which started in early 2018 in Segovia and Talavera de la Reina to continue later with Barcelona, Alcobendas and Malaga, a city that already has coverage in much of its territory, although many others many others Localities in Spain also have connected areas. "We are working to see what we want it for and, from there, to promote commercial implementation," explains Telefónica.
There are several factors that influence the slow implantation of 5G. The first is the absence of immediate innovative use for the average consumer. What the sector calls a killer application, that is, a app whose use determines the development of the technology, has not been found. Youtube or instant messaging were for previous generations of telephony, but the fifth is still looking for theirs. And the industry doesn't know it can solve much of its problems either. The second is the high cost of the terminals that access this technology, which are few and around a thousand euros. The third is the final ordering of the 700-megahertz band that will occupy the 5G. Its tender is limited by 30 June 2020, although the Government hopes that it will be possible to advance at the beginning of the year. And until that happens, telephony companies will not begin a real 5G deployment. What is currently done at half gas is still supported by the 4G network and, in addition, the antennas have a reduced radius of range and difficulties in penetrating the interiors of buildings.
Five years for mass use
"That means that there is no wide population deployment", stresses Mercedes Fernández. "That's why we continue to do use cases, pilot projects, non-massive deployments. Because technology is not definitive and neither is the frequency. And the terminals are very few and very expensive", concludes the manager of Innovation of Telefónica who hopes that the settlement the fifth generation will be the basis of a revolution. To be part of it, however, you will have to be careful: the manufacturers give a period of between three and five years for a "massive, standardized and internalized use", as Jesus Martín, head of technology at Samsung Iberia, said at the Forum 5G held in Malaga last spring. A date similar to that offered by Federico Ruiz, director of the National Observatory of 5G, which pointed to 2024 "for a real and large part of the territory".
what in the meantime about the user of this technology? Well, immediately, this technology hardly serves you to upload or download videos faster or to follow events in streaming without problems. "For the end consumer, the only terminals they detect is greater unloading capacity. But with 4G there is already enough speed to make the experience satisfactory," adds Jerónimo Vilchez, director of the Southern Territory of Spain at Telefónica. The head of the company's national southern half also insists that, therefore, the short-term future of 5G passes through the industry: "Direct application will be where the characteristics - high speed, low delay and concentration of terminals - say that need," he concludes,From left to right: Jerome Vilchez, director of the South Territory of Telefónica; Miguel Marcos, medical director of the Quirónsalud Málaga hospital; Mercedes Fernández, Innovation Manager of Telefónica España; Tomás Urda, Managing Director of the Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga and Dr. Pedro Rosón, Head of the Digestive Device Service of the Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga Telefónica
Telefónica has launched in the last two years projects that seek to demonstrate the need for the definitive implementation of 5G. Málaga has a circuit to study technology in autonomous vehicles, Segovia also tests with the connected car, Alcobendas experiments with a cloud storage system and, among other projects, in Galicia, Navantia tests this technology for ship building and the Railway Infrastructure Manager (ADIF), for the supervision of railways.
Another of these applications was shown on Thursday in the capital of the Costa del Sol. Dr. Pedro Rosón, head of the Digestive Device Service at The Chironsalud Hospital in Malaga, performed an endoscopy on a patient of a pre-malignant tumor in the colon while one of the largest specialists in that field, Japan's Katsumi Yamamoto, supported him from his home hall in Osaka, Japan
5G connection, 4K image probes and augmented reality use allowed the Asian specialist to be part of the real-time healthcare team despite being more than 11,000 kilometers away. "It's a priceless thing," Rosón explained. "Having the opportunity to consult on the fly and reconfirm what you think is incredible. This will redefine the way in which doctors relate," said the specialist who, in the afternoon and from Malaga, acted as an advisor in another intervention to the doctors of the Poniente hospital of El Ejido (Almería) using the same technology.