5gThe era of 5G is all but here. An IHS Markit study found that 82% of mobile operators are trialing and testing 5G technology. The testing highlights North America 5G momentum, leading to rollouts by 12% of the operators by the end of the year.

“Get ready, 5G is around the corner,” Stéphane Téral, the executive research director for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics for IHS Markit said in a press release. “5G is going live in North America by the end of 2018, and then in South Korea in 2019. Most operators in Europe, however, aren’t planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later.”

“Evolution from 4G to 5G: Service Provider Survey” found that ultra-low latency was the most attractive 5G capability to 76% of respondents. It was followed by increased network capacity (71%).

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Wrote Téral: “Every technical aspect that’s related to substantial improvement in network performance — lower latency, higher capacity, higher bandwidth, higher throughput –while decreasing the cost per bit continues to receive high ratings in our survey,” Téral said. “This is logical because it’s the foundation of the 5G definition.”

There are challenges as well, of course. Fifty-three percent of respondents who said the radio necessary for 5G is the biggest development effort. It is follow by transport (24%) and management (14%). The biggest drivers are extreme mobile radio, real-time gaming, high definition/ultra-high definition video and tactile low-latency touch and steer. Fixed-wireless access is expected to be the earlier commercial deployment.

Such a fast timeline suggests that milestones will be passed at a brisk rate. Late last week, Verizon and Nokia said that they used the 5G NR standard to hand off a 5G signal being sent to a moving vehicle in the 28 GHz band from one radio sector to another. The test took place at Nokia’s Murray Hill, N.J. campus.

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