What is 5G?

Commercial 5G networks are live across the world. Ericsson has been a key player in making this happen since the very start – setting the requirements, driving the standardization, developing our portfolio and building the eco-system. This new communication technology brings new capabilities that will create opportunities for people, businesses and society. So what is 5G and what will it mean for you?


What is 5G? These kids think they know.

But let's hear from the experts...

One thing you might notice is that when you hear about 5G, you hear  a LOT of talk about speed. Obviously, for newbies like kids, the speed of 5G was the easiest thing to understand.

But 5G is much, much more...

This is 5G

The world’s connectivity needs are changing. Global mobile data traffic is expected to multiply by 5 before the end of 2024. Particularly in dense urban areas, the current 4G networks simply won’t be able to keep up.

That’s where a new G comes into play. With 5G networks being switched on, the first use cases are enhanced mobile broadband, which will bring better experiences for smartphone users, and fixed wireless access, providing fiber speeds without fiber to homes. 5G smartphones will be available in beginning of 2019.

Being able to download a full-length HD movie in seconds and share your wow-moments with friends – that’s just the beginning. The true value of 5G is the opportunity it presents for people, business and the world at large: industries, regions, towns and cities that are more connected, smarter and more sustainable.

It’s allowing industries to reinvent themselves. It affects you. And it’s starting now.

First, let’s recap how we got here.

  • 1G: Mobile voice calls
  • 2G: Mobile voice calls and SMS
  • 3G: Mobile web browsing
  • 4G: Mobile video consumption and higher data speed
  • 5G: Technology to serve consumers and digitalization of industries.

Why is 5G a game changer?

The short answer to why 5G is a game changer: it will improve your network connection dramatically. You won’t have to deal with disruptions when sharing videos from crowded arenas, nor will high-quality videos on your newsfeed cause frustration from all the buffering.

Instead, you’ll get a faster, more stable, more secure connection – along with new services and experiences, just around the corner. More efficient capabilities and vastly increased capacity means you’ll enjoy better performance than ever before.

Data rates

100 times faster, supporting instant access to services and applications.

Network latency

significantly reduced to 1-10ms.

Network slicing

technology, making it possible to dedicate a unique part of a 5G network for a service.

First with 5G on four continents.

We're proud to say that communication service providers all around the world have chosen to deploy 5G using our leading network technology. In fact, we've switched on more networks in more regions around the world.

Learn more about our 5G leadership here.

What will 5G mean for communication service providers?

The introduction of 5G will make it possible for communications service providers to improve their business in various ways. Just as 4G shook up the landscape, whereby data packages became more important than voice and SMS packages, 5G brings opportunities for communications service providers to offer new services. 5G will also improve cost-efficiency. Our economic study of enhanced mobile broadband shows that evolution to 5G will enable 10 times lower cost per gigabyte than current 4G networks.

Meanwhile, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) can provide connectivity for households and businesses. Our economic study of FWA the investment payback time is under two years when connecting underserved suburban households on the existing mobile wireless network.

5G also presents an opportunity for operators to tap into revenue streams emerging from the digitalization of industries. Enabling new use cases, new services new business models and new eco-system, service providers can benefit from up to USD 619 billion market opportunity globally in 2026. In other words, this represents the chance to add up to 36 percent growth in revenues across this period. Read more in our report The guide to capturing the 5G industry digitalization business potential.

Find out more about how 5G can improve business for service providers here.

And the world at large?

5G is enabling a new wave of innovation. It has the potential for changing the world, further powering the hottest trends in tech today: IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) – among many more.

For several years, Ericsson has been breaking new ground testing and trialing 5G. Together with our customers and partners, we have deployed automated factories, remote health care, cars that can drive themselves,  and so much more, unlocking opportunities for another level of business potential. Read about some of our industry collaborations here.

Combining revolutionary levels of efficiency with higher capacities to send data: that’s 5G. Not only will it tangibly benefit you, it’s here to improve societies across the globe, and it’s equipping industries to do many things which – not too long ago – they could only envisage. Better yet, this new era of advancement is just getting started.

The Voice of 5G

Working in telecoms? Interested in 5G, but not really that deep into what it is? This is the podcast for you!

Listen to our podcast