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Insight series: What is the future of 5G?

As an organization that is founded on the expertise and insights of our members, we have taken the opportunity to discuss some of the new and emerging technologies shaping our industries, and how GlobalPlatform is working to define standards that enable digital devices and services to be securely brought to market.

In this interview, Mark Lipford, member of GlobalPlatform’s Board of Directors and Director of Industry Forums and Relations at T-Mobile, explains the current status of 5G roll out across the world, the benefits the technology can offer and the role that GlobalPlatform is playing in enabling the success of 5G.

GlobalPlatform: What is the status of 5G globally?

Mark Lipford: 5G is a term that is becoming more and more familiar to consumers, as it is gaining significant momentum globally. According to recent GSMA research, 5G will account for as many as 1.2 billion connections by 2025. This will cover one-third of the world’s population.

So far, we have seen roll out in over 22 markets, and commercial launches by 40 different operators across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S.

In the U.S. all three of the national operators have deployed services. Sprint* has the largest coverage, with nine cities and about 16 million people covered.

GlobalPlatform: What benefits is the technology set to offer?

Mark Lipford: There is a perception that 5G is just a quicker version of 4G, when in reality it is much more. 5G brings huge bandwidths, high speeds, low latency and a high number of connections per square kilometer, all of which are set to change the game. These functions will significantly increase operational performance and in turn, provide an enhanced user experience.

These capabilities are exciting, but it’s what you do with them that is really going to set the tone. 5G will offer benefits to many different industries, including education, medicine and agriculture. An exciting area that 5G is set to change is factory automation, where traditional manufacturing industrial companies will be going digital. A leading benefit of this is the increase in efficiency and agility of production, enabling businesses to optimize production operations and more competitively interact with the international business world.

Really, it’s about how you use the enhanced connectivity to improve the efficiencies of markets.

GlobalPlatform: Are there are any challenges limiting the potential of the technology?

Mark Lipford: The same features that are powering increased functionality, including a growth in use cases, connected devices and network traffic, are increasing security concerns. In fact, 94 percent of mobile operators expect growth in these areas to significantly increase security and reliability concerns.

Likewise, when talking to customers and Government agencies, it’s security that is front of mind. The technology calls for higher levels of security because it is set to connect more devices to networks than ever before, creating new potential entry points for hackers.

GlobalPlatform: What role is GlobalPlatform technology set to play in the future of 5G?

Mark Lipford: GlobalPlatform is well placed in enabling security and helping to protect the networks, as well as the customer. The organization continues to cooperate closely with industry partners on future 5G technical requirements. As such, its technology will play a key role in the standardization of the emerging 5G ecosystem.

*Sprint is now part of T-Mobile USA.

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