It’s the fifth-generation technology. It’s the Elon Muskian saviour of tech. It’s a buzzword. Telecom’s 5G is a curious hybrid of all this, a force that could unlock many future applications. Autonomous cars, internet of things (IoT), 3D videos, or even mission-critical applications like e-health and public safety. Faster, efficient broadband—more bits at lower cost—is the real promise if enough spectrum is available to go around the telcos. Commercial rollouts of 5G are planned only by early 2020, but spectrum allocation, auction, and now augmentation are on every country’s policy table.

On 12 July, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) triggered a tsunami with its unanimous decision to open up C-band, a frequency band hitherto used for satellite communication, to mobile users, particularly future 5G cellular networks.


Seema Singh

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

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