5G to 6G, Although it was hard to get, 5G is now a standard in Spain. Its benefits have been promulgated for many years, but such an intense transformation does not happen overnight – that is why we have had to wait to see them unfold in our day-to-day lives. However, even if it is considered the current standard, it is true that we have not yet squeezed its full potential. The step that will allow this technology to be fully unlocked is 5G SA, which is beginning to be deployed. And, from there, to Advanced 5G, which will act as a point prior to 6G, for which a roadmap is already beginning to be drawn up.
Where we came from 5G
2G, let us remember, had brought SMS and the digitization of communications. 3G made it possible to surf the internet from your mobile. And 4G improved on all of the above and offered better and faster connections. 5G has arrived with the aim of perfecting what already exists: higher speed, lower latency, more connections without saturating the infrastructure, lower energy consumption, and a series of technologies that make it possible to deploy broadband services such as automation, retransmission of high-speed data, smart cities and vehicles, drone management, etc.
The first antennas to provide 5G coverage in Spain began to be installed in 2018. A public-private deployment supported by the National 5G Plan of the Ministry of Industry led to the activation of these antennas two years later.
In the first phase, 5G known as 5G NSA was deployed. Its main advantage is that it allows you to take advantage of the 4G mobile networks already installed in most of the territory. And it has meant a great improvement in the benefits offered by this technology. However, the 5G NSA is a technology somewhere between 4G and everything that the fifth generation can offer.
Where we are: the rollout of 5G SA
It has been released once the frequency bands necessary to fully offer 5G technology – which was occupied by digital terrestrial television or DTT (and by previous technologies such as 2G and 3G) – when telephone companies such as Telefónica have been able to advance in the installation of antennas, repeaters and other 5G NSA or 5G SA infrastructure.
One of those frequency bands is 26 GHz, which was put up for auction in December 2022. This band is known as the millimeter band or mmWave and will allow ultra-fast connections over very short distances. But it is not the only one. The 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands will also be used for 5G SA, the key to the promises offered by this new technology. The first was occupied by DTT and was auctioned in the summer of 2021. The second was auctioned in the first instance to make possible the initial deployment of 5G.
Therefore, although in August 2022 Telefónica announced that it could already offer 5G coverage to 80% of the Spanish population, the industry is already preparing its next evolution with the deployment of 5G SA, which will further improve the capacity of the network and that in 2023 it will probably give a lot to talk about.
Where we’re going: 5G to 6G is on the way
The next stop is undoubtedly 6G. Preceded after a brief stop at Advanced 5G. If the estimates are met, we will begin to see the first applications of 6G mobile technology in 2026. But it will not be until 2030 when its implementation or deployment will begin. So we can rest easy if we have a new phone or plan to buy one.
Like its predecessor, 6G technology has several objectives to achieve: offer faster data transmission speeds (it is estimated that up to ten times more) and lower latency as much as possible. Other already known aspects of 5G would also be improved in its successor: lower power consumption, more devices connected simultaneously, etc.
And as with the previous generation5G to 6G, 6G technology will be backward compatible. That is to say: it will be possible to take advantage of all the available bands. As long as the authorities and the affected companies reach that conclusion.
6G also has the responsibility of helping advance technologies such as the metaverse, virtual reality, augmented reality, interconnected devices in homes, businesses, and cities, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, edge computing, and whatever else lies ahead. arrive.
Finally, although the main contenders in developing 6G technology are giants like the United States or China, Europe does not want to be left behind. Hence, telecommunications companies such as Telefónica (Spain), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), Orange (France), Telecom Italia (Italy), and Vodafone (United Kingdom), work together in the development of Open RAN technology in Europe. Thanks to this, it would be easier to extend the use of 5G or 5G SA in the near future and the future 6G as soon as possible.