5G Technology: What Are Its Advantages And Disadvantages

AUG 07, 2022

Last week, as the 5G spectrum auction concluded, India entered the league of nations that have this coveted technology. According to the government, 5G services will begin in the country by the end of this year or the beginning of 2023. Notably, for years, global telecom operators, internet companies, and cellular operators are planning to implement and use 5G technology, for easy accessibility and feasible operations. As global technological scenarios are changing with the introduction of artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), experts say that 5G technology will be quintessential for industrial revolution 4.0.

However, as the global telecom industry gears up for 5G technology, experts say that despite having several pros, 5G has many dark aspects that would require a detailed discussion amongst the industry leaders and governments globally.

Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of 5G technology:

Advantages OF 5G Technology

High Speed- One of the major pros of 5G technology is its ability to work faster on cellular and other devices. Unlike its predecessors—2G, 3G, 4G, and 4G LTE, where downloading movies, videos, and music and streaming services would have taken hours, with 5G technology these tasks become much easier with downloading taking only a few seconds. Moreover, one sector where the 5G technology will add value is the global booming gaming industry, according to experts. An average user can use up to 20Gbps of the internet with this technology.

Latency- Compared to its predecessors, 5G technology has low latency which makes it easier to support other new-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, IoT, and virtual reality, which is another major advantage of 5G technology. Furthermore owing to its low latency it makes browsing easier, thus improving customer experience.

Bandwidth- With increased bandwidth, 5G technology provides seamless transfer of data, thus improving the connectivity amongst devices and the overall user experience. Moreover, the technology provides users with a seamless transition of services between cellular devices and wireless wifi, thus improving performance. This is another advantage of 5G technology. Furthermore, less number of 5G towers would also provide users with improved bandwidth.

Disadvantages OF 5G Technology

Limited Coverage: While 5G technology is touted to have the fastest speed, its presence in only select cities globally that have 5G towers is one of the limitations of this technology. Despite global companies and governments working for maximum cities to have the coverage of 5G, it would take years for the introduction and implementation, as the testing, trial, and set-up of 5G towers is an expensive process.

Weak Upload Speeds: Experts believe that despite its ability to have faster download speeds, 5G technology will have less upload speed compared to 4G and 4G LTE. This is another drawback of 5G technology.

Battery Damages: Another limitation of 5G technology is it weakens the cellular device, by draining the battery and reducing the lifespan. So far only a few manufacturers have introduced mobile phones that are 5G friendly. While research and development are underway to manufacture 5G devices, the technology is proving to be a bane to 4G devices as it often leads to battery damage according to experts.

Interference With Airport And Flight Operations: In January this year, several airlines including Air India canceled their flights to the US as the telecom operators in the country were trying to roll out 5G operations in the country. One of the major reasons behind the cancellation of flights was the interference of technology with flight operations, according to the US aviation authority. Though this issue has not been encountered by other nations where 5G services have been rolled out, this makes it another limitation of 5G technology.

Cybersecurity Risk: Another drawback of 5G technology is it increases the risk of hacking thus impinging on cybersecurity. Moreover, lack of encryption during the connection process also makes the devices using 5G technology an easier target for cyberattacks and data theft.

5G Technology In India

In India, 5G spectrum auction began on July 26 and concluded on August 1, with the government fetching a whopping Rs 1,50,173 crore through the bids. The government had put 72 GHz of radiowaves for sale across 10 bands, of which 71 per cent have been sold. The spectrum bands that were put on sale include— low (600 MHz, 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz, 2500 MHz), mid (3300 MHz), and high (26 GHz).

Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio emerged as the winner of the bid across several spectrum bands including the covered 700 MHz band worth Rs 88,078 crore. Sunil Mittal-led Bharti Airtel fetched the second spot after buying 19,867 MHZ airwaves worth Rs 43,084 crore. While beleaguered telecom company Vodafone-Idea Limited (VIL) bought spectrum worth Rs 18,784 crore, Adani Group bought spectrum bands worth Rs 212 crore.

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