Countries that want to stay competitive in the global economy are adapting 5G technology. Because technology affects nearly all aspects of life, countries need to stay current with technological developments to improve the lives of their citizens and continue evolving in the global economy. Here are six countries that are leaders in adapting to 5G technology.

The United States

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Spectrum Frontiers Order has laid the groundwork for the use of 5G technology in the United States by 2020. The next generation of technology provides a greater amount of spectrum for wireless communication, smaller sizes of wireless cells, and more modulation schemes, letting greater numbers of wireless users share the spectrum. 5G technology offers at least one gigabit per second for connection speeds, shorter delays than 4G technology, and millimeter wave (mmW) bands for supporting applications requiring large capacity.

In July 2016, the FCC began creating rules for 5G technology, making the United States the first country opening high-band spectrum for the technology. Because the spectrum bands are available for licensed, unlicensed and shared users, more than four times the amount of spectrum is available for flexible use than in previous years. Also, 15 times more unlicensed spectrum is available for users than in previous years.

U.S. carriers AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile US Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) are already developing and testing 5G components. Verizon plans to start implementing limited commercial use of 5G technology in 2017.

South Korea

South Korean carrier KT Corp. (ADR) (NYSE: KT) plans to launch a 5G network during the Winter Olympics in 2018. The company completed a successful trial of a system from NEC Corp. (TYO: 6701) using extremely high frequencies for transmitting data at up to 3.2 Gbps (gigabits per second) in the Taebaek Mountains, where the 2018 Olympics will take place. NEC’s iPasolink EX ultra-compact microwave system links between LTE (long-term evolution) base stations to enable telecommunication, which is much easier than laying fiber for the links. The microwave system conveys data at frequencies of 70 to 80 GHz, which keeps more signal going through the air than other systems and uses a form of encoding that lets more data be transmitted.

Sweden and Estonia

Swedish-Finnish operator Telia Company AB (STO: TELIA) and Swedish provider Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) state that Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia will also use 5G technology in 2018. Digitalization of industries and the Internet of Things (IoT) will mostly benefit technology companies at first, but ultimately the technology will benefit the public through new services and applications. For example, 5G technology will control self-driving cars and robots working in mines, which are two areas that current infrastructure cannot support. Also, citizens living in more country-like areas will have higher bandwidth and better communication capabilities.

Turkey

Turkey’s 5GTR Forum, consisting of mobile network companies, Turkish public institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and domestic producers, is facilitating a faster transition to 5G technology by 2020. Through working together, the organizations share information and ideas to make Turkey one of the first countries to implement the technology and keep its citizens informed on its progress. Once implemented, 5G technology will connect people, transportation, objects and cities at higher speeds and with fewer delays, using the same infrastructure.

Turkey’s goal in implementing 5G technology is providing affordable technological services to its citizens and increasing domestic production through research and development (R&D). Turkish organizations are required to participate in R&D studies and help establish infrastructure as part of utilizing the technology. Additionally, the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology is studying ways the country may use domestic hardware, software and other mobile communication products.

Japan

Japan’s goal is to launch 5G mobile service in 2020. The country’s communication ministry is meeting with Japan’s three biggest carriers, NTT Docomo Inc. (ADR) (NYSE: DCM), KDDI Corp. (TYO: 9433) and SoftBank Group Corp. (TYO: 9984), as well as private-sector manufacturers of handset and base stations such as Panasonic Corp. (TYO: 6752), Fujitsu Ltd. (TYO: 6702) and Sharp Corp. (TYO: 6753), to discuss the results of continuing R&D of 5G technology.

Japan’s communication ministry states that 5G technology will be close to 100 times faster than LTE, which is used most often throughout the country, and 10 times faster than 4G technology. Implementing 5G technology will help integrate high-resolution-video services streaming in 4K and 8K, which need substantial amounts of bandwidth.

China

China is set to have 5G technology commercially available in 2020. However, because Chinese authorities control the implementation of the technology, the process may be slow. The implementation of 4G technology did not occur until late 2013, many years after Korea, Japan, the United States and other nations had 4G technology.

Many people are questioning which Chinese telecommunications companies will receive 5G network licenses. China Mobile Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: CHL) took over 4G network operations from 3G network operators China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE: CHA) and China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd. (NYSE: CHU) in 2013, as they were unable to provide the necessary requirements for 4G technology.

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