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5G Could be so Reliable it Replaces Home Broadband


Mobile network provider Three has claimed its new 5G services will be so effective and reliable that households will no longer need their copper and fibre broadband connections.

There has been a lot of talk in the technology community recently about the upcoming introduction of 5G mobile data services, and the changes and benefits that it will bring to consumers. Telecommunications company and internet provider Three UK has announced they will be rolling out the new technology some time next year.

David Dyson, chief executive of Three UK, has claimed the new technology will provide customers with enough capacity and thus reliability to cope with increased demand for data. “UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G unlocks significant capability to meet that demand,” said Dyson. It is predicted that by 2025, consumers will be using 13 times as much data than they are now.

5G could theoretically offer faster download speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second. Current 4G technology offers a theoretical maximum speed of 300Mbps, although real world download speeds rarely exceed 60Mbps.

Three UK believe that 5G will be a ‘genuine alternative’ to fixed-line broadband services. “Maybe not for the whole country, but certainly a significant majority of the country, I strongly believe 5G can offer a good enough home broadband experience for people to effectively ditch their copper (or fibre) connection,” Dyson told the BBC. “The challenge in terms of why we can’t do that today is that the mobile networks don’t have the capacity with 3G or 4G. 5G changes all of that.”

The increased capacity of 5G means that mobile networks will be able to handle more data at one time than they could before. Mr Dyson said that with 4G-based services, they had to be careful how many people were using it if they wanted to prevent poorer service. With 5G however, these problems will be solved.

However, Andrew Ferguson of Thinkbroadband believes it is still not clear how reliable the 5G services will be. “Stability is important for video streaming at HD and Ultra HD quality levels, and paramount for the gaming community,” said Ferguson. “Full-fibre services are going to beat 5G as you have a connection as stable as the one that will be feeding the mobile masts and thus the variables of signal strength dropping due to a bus passing the home are avoided.”

Currently, the UK government is targeting ‘full-fibre’ broadband coverage to every property in the country by 2033. However, only 5% of households already have access to these connections. Three UK believe that because of the logistical costs in providing ‘full-fibre’ broadband throughout the country, 5G offers a more economical and attractive option.

“Fibre-to-the-home for the small number of customers who value it and need it will probably provide a faster speed,” said Mr Dyson. “But I think for the majority of people, 5G will be a genuine alternative. It’s expensive to dig up roads. It takes a lot of time and money. It’s much cheaper and quicker to provide that connectivity via a wireless connection.”

Fergus Cole
Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.

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