5G is the next big thing but no one knows why

Industry has to first define what new features it will offer that the current generation of wireless networks can't


RUNNING short of dramatically new phone designs, leaders of the world's wireless industry agree their next big idea is 5G, shorthand for the fifth generation of networks they expect to have up and running by 2020.

But first they'll have to decide what 5G needs to do that the current, fourth generation of wireless networks will never offer.

"It is unclear what the opportunity or weakness that 5G should address is," researchers at GSMA, the global trade group of mobile network operators, said in a report issued in December that punctured some of the more visionary claims for 5G.

There is simply no need for the industry to spend heavily on new network gear or force consumers to upgrade phones...


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