Published Jan 2020

5G is here, but what does this mean for your data tariff?


Opinion piece by Adam Sankey, Head of Mobile, Opus

5G roll out is happening

2020 is going to see the UK’s Mobile networks really ramp up its 5G roll out.  This next generation of mobile technology has been dubbed as ‘here to change the world’! 5G promises to be faster, more reliable, with great capacity and lower response times.

According to Qualcomm,  5G will support the production of goods and services worldwide up to the value of £9.3 trillion by 2035. Research from Barclays Corporate Banking has found that 5G could add £15.7 billion to the UK economy alone by 2025.

But what does this mean for our customers?

Benefits of 5G compared to 3G and 4G

One of the most obvious benefits of 5G is its ultra-low latency (the delay between an action and something happening as a result) and speed across the entire network.  This means being able to download things much more quickly than you can on the current 3G or 4G networks.

Currently the main UK networks are offering 5G speeds in the hundreds of megabit range, but the true scope of 5G will, in theory, enable devices to eventually hit 10 Gbps download speeds quite easily.

To put this into context, compared America’s current average speeds and latency on 4G compared to what they are likely to be in 5G and found that consumers will save around 23 hours of loading time – almost one full day a month – browsing social media, gaming online, streaming music and downloading TV shows and movies.

Business without latency

Not only will 5G have a great impact on how and what we consume for our leisure, it will also have a great impact on business over the next decade.  With ultra-low latency, faster speeds and new capabilities, 5G will be completely different to what we’ve experienced before.  It will have the potential to transform the way your business operates, the way you engage and empower your employees and the way you interact and deliver to your customers.

Roll out of 5G in the UK

All major network providers including O2 and Vodafone are now rolling out 5G within the UK, however, as with previous 3G and 4G roll outs, this will be a staged process over the next few years.  Vodafone now has 5G live in 31 locations including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.  It is planning for a further 7 locations to be rolled out by the end of 2020 including southern locations of Guildford, Portsmouth and Reading.

O2’s 5G network is now live in parts of London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Leeds and Slough and the carrier has said it plans to spread its 5G network to a further 50 locations by the summer of 2020, including Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Brighton.

Speed v Risk

It’s an exciting time and 5G is certainly tipped to bring advantages to all businesses both large and small.  However, as with any major opportunity comes potential risk.   Increased speed and latency could come at a cost and this is something that businesses will need to keep an eye on as they roll out 5G.  The trouble with being able to download things from the internet more quickly is that you are at risk of downloading more than you would usually do on 4G.    More downloading and usage with 5G could equate to a far higher monthly data usage.   For example, with 4G a 1 hour 48 minute movie will take around 7 minutes to download, yet with 5G this same movie is likely to take just 49 seconds to download! To further put this into perspective, the average UK data bolt on is 3Gb of data, yet with a 5G SIM card and enabled handset you would be able to use your entire 3Gb data allowance in less than a minute!

With 5G, a 3Gb data bolt on could be used in less than a minute

Opus has your network covered

It’s important to start to think about how 5G is likely to affect your business as it rolls out and how data usage is likely to be impacted due to the faster speeds of download available.  Fortunately there is a solution to this issue in the form of Unlimited Data from both our preferred suppliers O2 and Vodafone.  At Opus we can help you to find the very best unlimited data deals that usually start at around £30 to £40 per month per device.   These will remove the risk of exceeding data usage allowances whilst giving you the benefits of migrating to a far superior 5G service.

If you would like more information and advice on the Unlimited Data tariffs we currently have on offer and how to get your business 5G ready.

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