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.