The announcement of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 brought about a wave of excitement to fans of all things tech. It makes sense, considering the many form of possibilities this will bring. From AI to XR, the new chip by Qualcomm signals the next big step in technology and how it will affect our lives further. The biggest change, however, comes in the next level of speed: 5G.
Talks of 5G has been going on for over the past year now, and it's no surprise that the focus will be on what this next level is capable of doing. Not only will downloading big files take mere seconds, but smart technology like driverless cars, drones and even creating smart homes that would help people be more energy efficient, save time on housekeeping and much more would be a big possibility that we can see in the next coming years.
Moving to a world of IoT
To put it simply, we're moving on to a world that would be connected through the Internet of Things (IoT) and this could only happen with the power of 5G and beyond. IoT needs a reliable network with a much higher device density, something that the current 4G is unable to deliver.
The great thing about 5G is that it is capable of doing some great things: reduce carbon footprint, higher chances to live longer and healthier lives, and increasing efficiency in production and transport. This is what makes the Qualcomm 855 announcement historical in a way, as this truly marks the beginning of new possibilities not just in what technology may produce but in the way we may be living moving forward.
With that said, there are still plenty of challenges that needs to be addressed before it can be implemented. These include:
Gaining space for the growing data in an already saturated wireless spectrum
Efficiently managing a large number of varying sized packages of information
Creating computer systems able to handle the vast amounts of data that will be created by IoT communications
Reducing both size and power consumption of network devices to meet the needs of the increasingly large number of applications using IoT
Source: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Obviously there’s a lot of work to be done, and the Snapdragon 855 alone will not see these changes happening soon, other than it being available on smartphones. Even so, Malaysia is also keen to adapt this technology and implementing it into everyday life
But is Malaysia ready for 5G?
Compared to our Southeast Asian counterparts, Malaysia seems to have taken a few steps forward in setting up 5G in Malaysia. A number of businesses and corporations have already been looking into 5G since 2017, with companies already looking into collaborations to set up 5G:
In August 2017, NEC Corporation of Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Netcracker Technology announced their collaboration with technology giants Red Hat, Juniper Networks and Dell EMC to offer an end-to-end multi vendor 5G-ready virtualisation platform for service providers and enterprises in Malaysia. - Source
In May 2017, Celcom Axiata Berhad partnered with communication technologies provider, Ericsson to conduct its 5G technology trial. Both companies have signed a 5G memorandum of understanding (MoU) earlier in February 2017. The trial was the first to be conducted on the 28GHz band in South East Asia. It also featured 5G Radio Prototypes from Ericsson, achieving a peak throughput up to 18 Gbps and latency as low as 3 milliseconds. Both companies also showed futuristic 5G uses during the trial – robotic control, connected environment, virtual reality, IoT and more. - Source
It’s not just companies alone, Cyberjaya is also looking into setting up 5G in the country:
Early this year in February, Malaysia roped in South Korea’s mega conglomerate, SK Group, to realise its smart cities ambition. This will see Cyberjaya being the first smart city in Malaysia to boast 5G technology and other smart city infrastructures. Government-owned Cyberview Sdn Bhd yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding with SK Group to develop Blue Ocean Smart Cities in the country, starting with Cyberjaya. - Source
As of 8 October, the Minister of Communications and Multimedia, YB Gobind Singh Deo announced that Cyberjaya and Putrajaya are the locations selected for 5G network testbeds ahead of its roll out. Cyberview Sdn Bhd, as the Tech Hub Enabler for Cyberjaya, is playing an active role as part of a task force led by MCMC working on test-site preparation readiness towards this end.
Even so, based on these alone, the likeliness of Malaysia getting 5G may be something we can see soon enough, if not next year then in 2020. But how will it be implemented in this country and how will it be used here compared to other countries is still up to speculation. After all, 5G is expected to be costly, which can be seen with the cost of smartphones equipped with 5G that will be released in 2019.
It's likely that 5G may be something for those who are on the T20 market of Malaysia at first, but in time it may be possible that the cost will drop and just as how 4G is now accessible to all Malaysians, 5G will be the same too.
Until then, all we can do is witness as technology takes its first step into the world of 5G.