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3G and 4G Networks Rollout Worldwide/5G on the Horizon/Massive Investments Required, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Fast wireless systems make it possible for subscribers to receive high-quality music, video and other features, and to connect interactively with the internet at high speeds.  Fast wireless, combined with high-resolution color screens and cameras on smartphones, means that subscribers are using their handsets to play games, access Facebook, get detailed news or financial data, watch mobile TV and shop online.  Smartphone owners are filming videos with their phones and then posting them to social media.  They are also viewing internet sites featuring store and restaurant listings, as well as advertising, based on the location of the user.  Film and video sites Netflix, Hulu and YouTube are immense drivers of traffic.
Ultrafast 5G wireless service will be the critical backbone that will enable IoT on a vast scale.  Far beyond simply improving smartphone services, 5G will connect sensors and devices to networks, gathering data and enabling machine-to-machine communications at near instantaneous speeds.  For example, it will be of vital, real-time use in robotics and self-driving cars and trucks.
In theory, 5G wireless can be more than 50 times faster than 4G.  A test in New York City found that 5G enabled the download of a 2.1 GB movie file in two minutes, 57 seconds, compared to about one hour for a 4G download of the same film.  However, actual 5G downloads achieved vary from city-to-city and carrier-to-carrier, and the movie download cited above may take a much longer tie to complete in some places.  Users of 5G often find lower-than-expected speeds, particularly during the early years of the 5G rollout.
In the U.S., Sprint and T-Mobile completed a merger in April 2020.  The combined businesses, operating under the T-Mobile name, planned to invest approximately $40 billion in infrastructure by 2022, developing one of the first nationwide 5G networks. 
South Korea’s largest mobile carriers (SK Telecom Co. and KT Corp.), manufacturers including Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics, Inc. and the South Korean government have been true 5G pioneers.  In April 2019, both SK Telecom and KT Corp. launched their first 5G commercial services, far ahead of many of the world’s leading firms.
U.S. cellphone service providers have invested billions of dollars in enhancing their networks over recent years.  Subscribers wanting 5G were initially limited to a small number of devices capable of using the service.  However, by 2021 5G had been rolled out, at least to some extent, in most major metro markets and was in use on a variety of devices, and by 2023 5G was widespread.
All major wireless device makers are investing heavily in the design of 5G-capable handsets.  As services roll out to more and more cities worldwide, consumers’ demand for new handsets will accelerate and generate tremendous new revenues for handset makers.  Apple launched its first 5G iPhone in late 2020, and incorporated 5G into all of its later designs.  The earliest models of true 5G handsets were expensive, and, due to high energy consumption, lacked the long battery endurance enjoyed by typical smartphones.  (5G smartphones are designed to work with lower speed 4G networks when necessary.)  All-in-all, 5G is terrific news for handset manufacturers, as it has become more and more daunting to create improvements to today’s smartphones that are compelling enough to get consumers to purchases newer phones.
Despite these positives, 5G infrastructure faces a long and expensive rollout.  In a recent report, Deloitte Consulting estimated that U.S. conversion to 5G would require carriers to invest a combined $130 billion to $150 billion.  Other analysts believe that deployment of 5G (outside of urban areas with the highest population densities) will take more than 10 years due to the expense and the necessity of cooperation among carriers and local municipalities.  According to CTIA, in 2020, the U.S. had 154,000 cellular service towers.  However, an additional 769,000 transmission must be created by 2026 or so to achieve full 5G coverage, due to the fact that 5G has shorter range and requires more antennas. 
While 4G mobile phone service can travel fairly long distances, and transmissions come and go from tall towers, the fastest-service (known as high-band) 5G antennae must be spaced fairly close together.  Carriers are competing to offer the fastest possible speeds within dense cities.  Consequently, carriers are placing small 5G antennae in a close-packed manner, on streetlights, the sides of buildings and other unique spots.  Seeing this boom of new antenna locations as a potential source of tax revenue, some U.S. cities have been attempting to charge high permit fees to the carriers for each new antenna deployed.
5G may also increase cybersecurity threats since it will eventually connect to vast numbers of devices, pieces of equipment and remote sensors as the Internet of Things grows.  Its potential use in autonomous vehicles, factories, transportation systems, utilities and smart-city infrastructure raises security concerns.
Chinese mobile equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co., which was previously a dominant player in the global 5G market, faced cybersecurity doubts among certain foreign governments in recent years, resulting in U.S. and Australian government bans of Huawei 5G equipment.  The bans, in addition to other Huawei restrictions in the U.K. and a number of EU countries, have opened doors for other cellular equipment makers to gain market share and play larger roles in establishing global standards. 
Satellite provider Dish is investing an estimated $10 billion to launch a 5G wireless service.  The service will be capable of assisting wide-area networks for major enterprises, powering the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, such as sensors.  Dish is working with Dell Technologies’ RAN (Radio Access Network) architecture and a strategy known as “edge” computing which enables faster IoT data processing.  
Meanwhile, some carriers have been advertising a “lite” version of 5G, optimistically referred to as 5GE—the E stands for “evolution.”  Such service is technically based on an enhanced 4G system.  Another technology is 5G NR (“new radio”), which upgrades existing 4G networks with regard to home internet access.  For example, Verizon offers the 5G NR Enhanced Gateway modem made by D-Link.  However, the mid-term will see full 5G wherever there is a sufficient population base to justify the investment.
High speed mobile access is a global phenomenon.  China ranks number one in the world in the total number of high-speed internet subscribers.  India’s high-speed wireless count is soaring, thanks to massive investments in infrastructure, along with intense competition that keeps prices low.  
Faster wireless speeds are also supported by the latest evolutions in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networks.  Next on the horizon is the rollout of 6G technology which is not expected until 2030 or so.  With sizzling download speeds of up to 1 terabyte per second, 6G will eventually offer the first real time, fully integrated metaverse reality on an enterprise level.

Artemis Networks,, may solve wireless network traffic jams with a technology called the pCell mobile wireless data transmission system.  Compared to conventional cell towers, which share spectrum capacity and suffer slow performance when many users are on the network simultaneously, pCell uses interference caused by closely placed antennas to create a unique and clear wireless signal for each user on the network.  The firm claims that all pCell service is full speed, no matter how many users are involved.

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