5G in Russia: why do you need, how much does it cost and when will it appear? Briefly about the main thing

    Fifth-generation cellular communications are still somewhere on the horizon.

    Fifth-generation mobile networks began to be spoken about when the introduction of 4G was just launched. Nevertheless, the development of 5G networks is not very active, in Russia and in the West. The reason is a large number of problems, including the need to develop new standards and specifications, new equipment (chips, network, data processing, user devices), plus the deployment of 5G infrastructure, the output of devices for mass consumers.

    At what stage is the development of 5G in Russia and when will we be able to enjoy the ultra-fast mobile communications of the new generation? In this article we have tried to briefly describe the main points of the development of a new technology in Russia.

    The first specification is 5G ...

    ... Presented at the end of December 2017. It was developed by the 3GPP consortium, and this was only the first part of the official document describing the 5G New Radio (NR) standard . It can be said that the specification was developed even faster than planned, since this issue is too important, many mobile operators from around the world are extremely interested in 5G, including the largest companies like AT & T, Sprint, Telstra and Vodafone.

    5G has many advantages over previous standards, the most important of which is a tenfold increase in throughput compared to 4G. In addition, cell towers will be able to support about a million connected devices per square kilometer.

    What for?

    Quite a simple question that interests many. The answer is that 5G will enable the active development of IoT technologies, which will ensure the emergence of smart cities, smart vehicles and other IoT technologies. As for transport, cellular stations will be able to communicate with objects that move at high speeds, up to 500 km / h.

    It should be noted that for a simple consumer, the transition from 4G to 5G will be almost imperceptible - videos and sites are already loaded in the blink of an eye where there is 4G. The fifth generation of networks is necessary for modern business and the state, which are being digitized.

    5G is a qualitative development of technology, and not just an increase in network bandwidth. Enhancing security, improving connection stability, increasing the number of devices simultaneously connecting to the station, the ability to work with IoT in real time mode - this is what 5G means.

    If we talk about Russia, the creation of a fifth-generation network of its own is extremely important for the state digitalization. This question is even registered in the program "Digital Economy".

    Despite the talk that 5G will replace wired networks, it will happen very soon if it does. Firstly, the wired infrastructure is much cheaper, secondly, 5G-devices for consumers will become available very soon (more on that below), plus they will be expensive.

    How much is it?

    According to domestic experts, the investments in the new generation networks should be much larger than the investments that were required for the development of 4G infrastructure and, moreover, 3G. The total amount of funds required for the development of 5G in Russia is, according to some estimates, about a trillion rubles. This is a huge amount that no Russian company has. Therefore, for the effective development of fifth generation networks, federal operators will have to look for opportunities to join efforts.

    True, the amount of 1 trillion is too abstract. It includes direct and indirect costs over many years (how much is also unclear). As for the development of fifth-generation networks in the Russian million-plus cities, this will require 73 billion rubles. Anyway, just such a sumvoiced by the Ministry of Communications. For economy, it is proposed to use part of the existing infrastructure of operators. In this case, in the first stage of 5G development, fifth generation base stations will be connected to a functioning 4G infrastructure.

    When to wait for 5G in Russia?

    Technology demonstration has already been held . Last year, in the summer, Megafon launched a 5G pilot zone in the center of Moscow. Of course, ordinary users could not test the new connection, since no one else has smartphones or other devices that support 5G. The demonstration was to conduct a live broadcast of a football match using 5G. The data transfer rate was 35 Gbit / s. The test zone 5G was launched in Skolkovo, there are plans to test new technologies in Tatarstan.

    But this positive news ends. The fact is that the government has postponedmass implementation of the standard until 2022. The concept of creating and developing 5G networks should be approved already this quarter. By the end of next year, the government will determine the frequency bands, plus the first projects on the introduction of 5G in five key industries and in one of the million cities will be implemented.

    As mentioned above, all federal operators will be implementing the 5G development project in Russia , and not just separately. The companies confirmed their readiness to support the 3.4-3.8 GHz sharing project for 5G networks. Operators believe that the sharing model required for the networks of the fifth generation of the spectrum will enable companies to share the costs of infrastructure development.

    According tothe authors of the study “Mobile economy: Russia and CIS 2018”, by 2025 about 80% of the population of Russia will use 5G. “The results of our study show that Russia will become the leader among the CIS countries in terms of the spread of 5G networks, since mobile operators are actively investing in their development,” the study says.

    By the way, user devices will not appear soon. According to the developers, 5G "exponentially" complicates the development of smartphones. Plus, these phones at $ 200-300 will be more expensive than usual. Their size will be larger than that of modern devices, and they will work less in time, because 5G-chips are more voracious in terms of energy. By the way, prototypes of 5G devices are already there, Zyxel Communications showed a router capable of working with the fifth generation network at CES 2019. Nevertheless, these are only prototypes for now.

    So, even according to the most optimistic forecasts, 5G-networks and devices in Russia will become available for the mass consumer no earlier than after 3 years. At the same time, many experts adhere to the pessimistic scenario, according to which the distribution of 5G in the Russian Federation is a question of 5-7 years.

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