Given that mobility is such an important part of the Unified Communications experience, I have periodically written about the proliferation of WiFi, and about the expansion of faster cellular networks. More WiFi out there in the world, and the better the cellular networks, means the remote work aspect of UC will just continue to grow. That’s not really any big news, but I still check in on the growth and proliferation.
So let’s take a look at LTE and also at 5G. As indicated in the chart to the right, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) is a good place to go to get some stats.
LTE has been the fastest growing mobile system technology ever. It has over 5.4 billion subscriptions, connecting nearly 60% of mobile users worldwide. Most readers of this blog probably use some version of LTE every day.
But now we hear about 5G being rolled out. According to the GSA report, 125 operators in 52 countries/territories have (as of mid-November 2020) announced 3GPP-compatible 5G service launches (either mobile or FWA). If you read the specs, the speeds and latency for 5G are supposed to be significantly better than 4G in terms of downloading video content, watching video content, etc. Yet in commercials in the US, that part is muted and we typically hear “get 5G speeds” whatever that means. Specificity is lacking.
To me, that means I don’t need to rush to go get a 5G capable phone right now. But what is in the specs will occur someday. It will just take some time.
And while there will be some stand-alone 5G networks, most networks will take the form of integration and then migration of the LTE/5G network. This paper from Ericsson is good reading if you want the specifics.
At any rate, going back to the first paragraph of this blog, it means that mobile UC will continue its growth, and the advent of video to UC will continue to grow and won’t just be limited to your day to day “office” setup, whatever or wherever that may be.