5G Technology: Timeline; Features; Applications and Challenges

By Ashutosh Yadav|Updated : February 23rd, 2021

5G network is the next generation of wireless communication. It’s much faster and able to connect with more devices than the existing 4G LTE network. China is the first country to officially announce its entry to the 5G era. In this article, we are providing you with complete details on 5G Technology which is important for UPSC Exam.



5G Technology: Timeline; Features; Applications and Challenges

Timeline of evolution of 1g to 5g-

  • The first generation of mobile network (1G)-
    • It was launched for the first time by Nippon Telegraph and Telephone in Tokyo. By 1984 it was rolled out in the whole of Japan.
    • By the late 1990’s 1G, also appeared in the US, Canada and UK.
    • It only involves call functions, but have problems in the form of high cost, continuous network disruption, poor coverage and poor sound quality.
    • These drawbacks paved the way for the arrival of 2G. The maximum speed of 1G was 2.4 Kbps.
  • 2nd Generation network-
    • In 2G people could send messages(SMS), picture messages and multimedia messages(MMS) on their phone. It led to a cultural revolution in the society.
    • The main problem with 2G was its sluggish speed of only 50Kbps.
  • 3G Technology
    • In 2001,3G was launched by  NTT DoCoMo. It increased data transfer capabilities and brought new services like video streaming, Voice over IP and video conferencing.
    • 3G made it possible to have international calls. The maximum speed of 3G was 2Mbps.
  • 4G LTE-
    • It provided with high speed and wide coverage. It was launched in 2009 and it enables features like virtual reality.
    • Most mobile phones at present support both 4G and 3G technologies.     
  • Features of 5g-
    • High average speed of downloading-20Gbps, as compared to 20Mbps from 4g
    • The latency of 1milliseconds.
    • Spectrum- 2.3GHz to 24 GHz and more. In the 4G spectrum, the range is 800MHz to 2.6
    • Wider connectivity

Application of 5g-

  • Faster data processing- 5G has a latency rate of 1 millisecond and a speed range of 20Gbps and more. Thus data collected by various source can be processed at a fast pace.
  • High-speed mobile network- 5G will reduce buffering and enhance the download speed on our mobiles. It’ll also help in good quality video calling and conferencing.
  • Internet of Things- 5G will boost up development in the field of IoT.
  • Artificial intelligence- 5G has added advantage for machine learning, robotics and other programming modules. It can provide faster processing of data.
  • Education- Due to Covid-19, Online learning has gained a lot of momentum. But the speed of the internet set up a big hurdle in education. 5G can help in faster connectivity and better learning experience. It’ll also open new avenues for learning.
  • Health sector- 5G will help in the field of Telemedicine and biotechnology. It will help in spreading access to medical services to far fledged areas.
  • Employment Opportunities- 5G will open new areas of employment in various sector like the I.T. sector, construction sector and Cyber sector. According to an estimate, it can lead to employment opportunity for almost 5 crore youth in India.
  • Government Services- 5G can help in better access and last-mile access to Government services for the citizens. It will help in faster public grievance redress and ensure transparency and accountability in government services.
  • Global competitiveness- India can boost it’s Make in India programme and also compete with China in terms of 5G rollout. To meet the pace with global technology India needs to speed up its 5G research.

Government steps to push for 5g-

  • The government established a steering committee under the Chairmanship of A.J.Paulraj to suggest a roadmap for 5G adoption.
  • Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has started the process of auctioning 5G spectrum.
  • National Electronics Policy 2019 aims to position India as a global hub for Electronics System Design and Manufacturing and promotes 5G, IoT, Artificial intelligence etc.
  • Bharat Net project aims to provide broadband connectivity to all households.
  • The Department of Telecommunication has started a high-level forum to develop the roadmap for 5G in India.
  • Government is taking steps to enhance rural connectivity, by connecting Panchayats with broadband services. This will help in future rollout of 5G.
  • Government has also given incentive for research in this field. Various scheme Like Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) aims to develop scientific temper among the students.
  • India is also making efforts to have its own IPR for 5G services.


  • Infrastructure- Till now the infrastructure for the mobile network is poor in India. In rural areas, there is a lack of fibre connectivity and people have lack of access in terms of mobile devices.
  • Terrain- The rollout of 5G requires new frequencies, which can be absorbed by humid and hot weather. So in hilly and coastal areas, it becomes difficult to have 5G connectivity. Also laying of fibre in difficult terrain is also a tedious task.
  • Investment- Shift to 5G requires huge investment. Our telecom sector is already quagmire by huge debt, so it’ll be difficult for them to buy the 5G spectrum and other infrastructure required.
  • Technical knowhow- India till now has no significant achievement in the field of 5G research. China, Japan and other Western Countries are much ahead of us in the field of research. So in order to quickly roll out 5G, we need to pace up with research in this field.
  • Expensive- 5G connection requires new devices and it’s not compatible with the already existing 4G network mobiles. So it’ll be expensive for people to buy new devices. Also, 5G connection is expensive as compared to 4G.
  • Data protection and Cybercrime- India faces the problem of Cyber theft and breach of privacy. With the rollout of 5G network, we need to ensure cyber protection and other safety measures.


5G networks have the power to change the way we live and think. It’s a great opportunity for India to boost its telecom sector and ensure global competitiveness. For wider and equal deployment of 5G India needs to ensure that it overcomes the challenges related to infrastructure and spectrum sale. This will help in taking the benefits of 5G as soon as possible.

Here are the links:

Daily Current Affairs

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