O2 5G No Earlier than 2020
O2 will not roll out commercial 5G sooner than 2020, the company has confirmed.
17:33 30 May 2018
O2 has announced that it will not deploy commercial 5G services before 2020, adding that anything released before the said date will fall under the lite 5G classification. The company said: “It’s likely that there will be a lite version of 5G launched [in the UK] prior to 2020,” adding: “Any UK operator launching ‘5G’ before 2020 would be using a ‘lite version’ of 5G.”
The confirmation was followed by comments by Javier Gutiérrez, Director of Strategy and Development of Network and Information Technology Infrastructures (IT), Telefónica Spain, that the next generation mobile network will not become available in Spain sooner than expected because the market remains immature and the business does not want to make risky investments.
The 5G “lite” version would be based on standards that are set to be finalised by the 5G standards body 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) in June.
The O2 UK spokesperson continued, saying: “Everyone in the world (including O2 in the UK) is expected to deploy 5G using a ‘non-standalone’ architecture to start with but it’s the ‘standalone’ version which comes after that and will offer the complete 5G experience.”
It added: “Effectively this means that a 5G launch before 2020 will lack certain capabilities (e.g. super low latency, vehicle communications for autonomous driving, enhanced security).”