Samsung and SK Telecom are in talks to show off their 5G technology at MWC. With data speeds as fast as 7.5GB/second, the two partners hope to have a commercial launch of their 5G network in South Korea some time around 2020.
The official definition of 5G network is yet to be decided, but what we know is that Samsung and SK Telecom will employ millimeter wave frequencies which are above 6GHz.
Millimeter wave frequencies require an unobstructed path which makes it impossible to work indoors or with the phone in your pocket. But a process called 3D beamforming discovers the location of a smartphone and sends a narrow transmission called a "pencil beam" directly to it in a straight line.
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A large number of 5G access points is required for 3D beamforming to work. What is interesting about the 5G signals requiring a clear line of sight is that two individuals could be on opposite sides of a street with a large building in between them, and use the same frequencies without any interference. Talk about turning a negative into a positive.
The technology is similar to what is used with satellite television, which uses 11GHz millimeter waves and requires a clear line of sight between the satellite and the dish. While Samsung and SK Telecom have that 2020 target in mind, Japan's NTT Docomo plans on launching a demo 5G network in Tokyo set to debut during the 2018 Summer Olympics in the city.