SmarTone and Ericsson join forces on creating 5G applications for various industries

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 7:40pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 January, 2017, 10:46pm

Telecommunications operator SmarTone and Ericsson will partner to develop a mobile technology innovation hub to drive innovation for 5G applications in various industries, the companies said on Wednesday while showcasing Hong Kong’s first demo of the high-speed network.

5G, defined as the fifth generation of wireless mobile technology, is widely expected to be between 5 to 20 times faster than current 4G mobile networks, allowing users to download a high-definition movie over a mobile network within seconds.

The technology is also touted to support up to 1 million connections per square kilometre, with an extremely low latency rate of 1 millisecond or less.

SmarTone and Ericsson demonstrated the upcoming technology with a 5G base station, a next-generation antenna and a test mobile station, which consistently displayed a data throughput of over 5 Gbps.

5G technology is expected to roll out commercially in 2020, and industry standards are still being set, according to Stephen Chau, chief technology officer at SmarTone.

“5G will bring much faster, better and homogenous mobile connectivity and mobile broadband. Today we watch videos with our mobile phones, but with 5G, we could enjoy rich media like augmented and virtual reality applications [through mobile networks].”

The advent of 5G will allow for a range of different applications, according to SmarTone. Possible uses include allowing humans to control machines remotely in real-time thanks to the low latency.

Such applications could allow surgeons to conduct operations remotely using robots, or allow miners to conduct mining operations by remotely controlling machines underground.

SmarTone and Ericsson’s innovation hub for mobile technology in Hong Kong will be ready by the middle of this year, Chau said. Companies interested in exploring how 5G technology can be applied to their businesses can approach the hub to develop solutions in co-operation with SmarTone and Ericsson.

“5G will herald a significant shift towards the hyperconnected and real-time world of internet of things,” Chau said. “Our innovation hub will see SmarTone and Ericsson forge collaboration with other industry and technology leaders to users in a new era of mobile possibilities for consumers and businesses.”

“We will think about how we can deploy different sensors or smart metering ... it is a huge opportunity for different industries to come together to create innovation and different services,” he said.