From 1G to 5G: a constant mobile evolution with 6G on the horizon


Just a few years ago no one dreamed that the population would be able to do anything on a small touch screen device. But These small gadgets have transformed the way you shop, communicate, work, learn, or consume content.

precisely on the occasion of 50th birthday of the first mobile call —carried out on April 3, 1973 by Martin Cooper, a Motorola engineer — in this report he will delve into one of the incredible advances that we will be able to see in smartphones in the future because for a long time many experts have started to raise the concept of 6G technology.

The executives of some of the companies technology and the world’s largest telecommunications companies say this next generation is likely to arrive in 2030.

The timeline from 1G to 5G could not have happened without creating and improving each generation of telecommunications that has led to what it is today. Approximately every 10 years and since 1979, each new generation has changed the way we communicate, improving our quality of life.

The evolution of mobile wireless technology from 1G to 5G

1G: voice calls

1979 was a time when cell phones were thick, heavy, and bulky. They had no screens and came with big antennas and huge batteries. However, this is where the history of the mobile network began.

The first generation allowed communication between two compatible devices using a wireless network. Based on the analogue system, 1G only supported voice calls, albeit with poor quality due to interference. Also, 1G worked in a fixed geographic area due to lack of support from roaming by the network.

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2G: telephony services

The second generation (1990) fixed the problems that clouded the network mobile first generation and introduced new capabilities. The first generation analogue system has now been replaced by a highly advanced digital technology for wireless transmission called the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).

digitally based, 2G supported better quality voice calls and data servicessuch as Short Message Service (SMS) and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).

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In addition, this mobile network enabled the function of roamingallowing users to make calls, send and receive messages and multimedia content on the go. 2G technology allowed true telephony services.

He later received support from Internet in the form of GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Evolution), but that alone wasn’t enough for a generational change. So there was also 2.5G before the world went to 3G.

3G: age of applications

The third generation mobile network (2001) introduced high-speed Internet services that laid the foundation for smartphones and application ecosystems. While 3G enabled the concept of mobile television, online radio services, and mobile email, they are video calls and apps truly define this era.

This was the time when the iPhone and Android smartphones started to make headway.

Differences between 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G.  Source: 4GATHOME
Differences between 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G. Source: 4GATHOME

Like 2G, there was no direct change from 3G to 4G. There was a 3.5G, which led to better internet speeds in megabytes per second (Mbps) with the introduction of technologies like HSDPA (High Speed ​​Downlink Packet Access) and HSUPA (High Speed ​​Uplink Packet Access). ).

4G: Internet calls

Concepts introduced by 3G, such as high-definition voice calls, video calls, and other Internet services, they come true in 4G (2009), thanks to a higher data rate and advanced multimedia services supported by the mobile network.

It perfected the LTE (Long Term Evolution) system, which significantly improves the data rate and allows the simultaneous transmission of voice and data. Internet calling, or VoLTE (Voice over LTE), is one of the many advantages of the 4G mobile network. The network also enabled voice over WiFi (VoWi-Fi), making it easy to make voice calls in areas with little or no network capacity.

5G: IoT and companies

From 1G to 4G, each successive generation of communication technology produced significant changes in the network, refining the use cases of the previous generation and introducing new ones.

Mobile operators in China, South Korea, and the United States began rolling out 5G in 2019. This technology is the next generation of mobile Internet after 4G, which promises super-fast speeds.


But penetration among consumers remains low. Only one in seven people worldwide today use 5G, according to Strategy Analytics.

However, 5G has been positioned by the industry of the telecommunications not just as a consumer product for faster download speeds, but as a network that could support new technologies like self-driving cars.

However, after hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in 5G networks, operators have struggled to see a return on profit. Analysts still float the idea that the real potential to monetize 5G could be on the horizon.

6G in 2030?

“5G and 6G will be the veins of the organism through which the blood (data) of artificial intelligence and the internet of things will flow, giving rise to new paradigms now unsuspected”explains to Computer Hoy Martín Piqueras, professor at OBS Business School and expert in digital strategy at Gartner.

6G was one of the big talking points at Mobile World Congress, the world’s largest mobile industry fair that was recently held in Barcelona, ​​with global telecommunications companies giving their views on this latest technology.

However, Why is the industry already talking about this still early technology? The answer is that telecommunication networks require standards. These are, at best, globally accepted technical rules that define how a technology works and its interoperability around the world.

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These standards take several years to develop and finalize and involve a range of stakeholders, from companies to academia and industry. That’s why the industry is thinking so much about it.

“Meanwhile, 5G will evolve to Advanced 5G, which will arrive in 2024 and 2025 and will get closer to these features with versions R19 and R20 in 2027 and 2028”specifies Martín Piqueras.

In other words, before 6G we will be able to experience an improved 5G that, if accompanied by devices produced in Europe or the United States, will allow a global deployment away from skepticism about the current Asian devices that dominate the market and slow down deployment. In a nutshell, will allow the democratization of this technology.

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At the moment it seems that the key, according to experts, is focus on 5G deployment even while research on this development is underway. That’s because talking about 6G could confuse consumers and there is still progress to be made on 5G technology.

At this point, because 6G standards have not been established, there is no clear picture of what the technology will look like. Several executives, including the CEO of Nokia, they predicted that it will be implemented in 2030 and that standards will be set a few years earlier.

Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam of the University of Sydney said that 6G could offer blistering speeds of 1TB per second, enough to download 142 hours of Netflix movies in one second.

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“The impact will be brutally positive, activities that cannot be carried out today, such as a surgeon operating remotely on a person, or someone driving our car home remotely if we cannot do it ourselves, will be possible. , and this will have an impact on the way in which we experience sensations, transport ourselves or transact”explains Martín Piqueras.

Speeds this fast could not only enhance the technology expected to emerge from 5G, such as self-driving cars and smart cities, but may also enable sci-fi applications like integrating our brains with computers and sensory interfaces that feel and see. like real life.

“Emerging technologies will feed back into each other with data traffic, and more speed and bandwidth, more capacity for artificial intelligences to train faster, and the internet of things to democratize with more and more devices and more applications of these”concludes the expert.

Many are looking forward to seeing new features in future smartphones, with the inclusion of 6G included. Only time will tell what new technologies and improvements will be brought to the table. All we can do for now is theorize.


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