5G – Are We Ready?

Malaysia has successfully launched the 5G network technology on 18th April 2019 by the prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed. While South Korea and USA may have been the first, at least the country is the first in Southeast Asia and said to be among the 1st countries in Asia to launch this technology. 5G is said to play the most important roles for the next Fourth Industrial Revolution.

What is 5G?

Evolution from 1G network to 5G network

5G (5th generation) is the term for the next cellular mobile network technology, intended to replace current 4G technology. The standard access mode for 5G is known as NR (New Radio) while the current 4G is known as Long Term Evolution (LTE).

To make some room for 5G implementation in Malaysia, the government through MCMC have completed “analogue switch off” – a switchover from analogue TV to digital TV which ended at 31 August 2019 at Sabah & Sarawak area. The reason for switch off is said to free up spectrum used by analogue TV before to make way for different services, including 5G.

How 5G is better than 4G?

Of course, the advancement of technology will make our life easier. While some of us already satisfy with what current 4G technology by watching favourite TV shows on the go, video calling family and friends without lagging, and many more. 5G have more than what it can offer, such as:

  • Maximum speed 20 Gigabit / second.
  • Ultra low latency rate, lower than 1 millisecond.
  • Deep coverage to reach more challenging area like rural area or mountainous are.
  • 100x better network efficiency; using less power and can save more battery life of your devices.
  • Better network security for government / healthcare / financial services.
  • And many more.

New and current technologies that will gain benefit from implementation of 5G:

  • 4K resolution video calling and video conferencing in real time.
  • Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home: To control your home lamplight, air conditioner temperature, refrigerator from your smartphone.
  • National emergency services (999) to deliver faster service, better exchange of information and video feeds and save people’s life efficiently.
  • Self-driving car which can identify appropriate navigation paths, drive safely while obeying speed limits and road signs.
  • More remote control and automation advancement, like drones and robotics.
  • Wider utilisation and better enhancement for artificial intelligence (A.I) – Automated customer service & helpdesk, music recommendation based on user’s mood, healthy food recommender based on health record, weight, calories and eating habit.
  • Big data management and blockchain.
  • Possibility for hologram as next form of communication – just like Star Wars.
  • Digital healthcare and remote surgeon – specialist from worldwide conduct surgical procedures at distant area by using VR.
  • Remote education – virtual classroom with many students around the world in real time.
  • And many more.

Do we need to change a new device to use 5G?

Of course. To be able to utilize the 5G speed benefits, the device must be 5G-ready. Rest assured now you can own a 5G-ready smartphones even before the 5G network available for public.

What happened to older network technology when 5G is available?

4G is still available to use when 5G will be available for commercial use in Malaysia by 2021. Older network like 2G is still available for rural area while Singapore have already ended their 2G services in 2017. So far there is no plan by the government to end the 2G network.

When I can use 5G in Malaysia?

While the 5G have been launched in Malaysia, the technology is not yet available for commercial use right now. 5G was planned to be released for public at somewhere around 2021.

Right now, the industry sectors will be the first to benefit from 5G technology such as agriculture, digital healthcare, education, entertainment and media, manufacturing and process industries, oil and gas, smart city, smart transportation and tourism under 5G demo projects across six states in Malaysia.

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