Now however, 5G is very much on its way and the possibilities it will bring seem to be endless. At Qualcomm’s 2018 CES press conference, the company predicted that 2019 will be the year that 5G becomes mainstream for mobile (though others say 2020). These bold claims are substantiated by the fact that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), an organisation which works to provide complete system specifications for cellular telecommunications network technologies, finalised its first 5G specs late last year. Members of the 3GPP approved the suggested Non-Standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) specification, meaning commercial vendors now have the necessary guidelines from which they can start building products. Director of technical marketing at Qualcomm Matt Branda backed this sentiment, saying: “This is really the step that enables vendors to start building equipment.” The Standalone (SA) version, which will define the full user and control plane capability for 5G NR using the new 5G core network architecture, is due for completion in June.
3GPP have by no means been the only body committing resources and conducting in-depth research into 5G. Various research bodies have looked into 5G and how it will affect different industries; NGMN (Next Generation Mobile Networks, which claims it has shaped the industry of wireless communication for the past 12 years) and GSMA (an organisation representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide) have both published papers on the topic. In GSMA’s research paper, titled The 5G era: Age of boundless connectivity and intelligent automation, it recommends the new technology as “an opportunity for operators to move beyond connectivity and collaborate across sectors such as finance, transport, retail and health to deliver new, rich services.” But what about the marine sector, barely mentioned in these papers? How quickly will the 5G revolution benefit our superyachts?