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5G mmWave – The Full potential of 5G and progress so far...

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

There has been a lot of talk regarding 5G capabilities and all the new opportunities it will open in terms of use cases. In terms of Technology, 5G is the split between sub-6GHz (e.g 3.5GHz and mmWave (e.g 26GHz, 28GHz, 39GHz, 60Ghz).

The bandwidth is 25 times more than what’s currently used for 3G/4G.

This will allow for multi-Gbps data rates, increased capacity, and lower latency.

Source: GSMA 5G mmWave Summit – Unlocking the Full Potential of 5G, Barcelona


In terms of devices, there is an expanding trend with more than 150 devices now supporting 5GmmWave.

Source: GSMA 5G mmWave Summit – Unlocking the Full Potential of 5G, Barcelona and GSA Feb 2022


Some of the advantages of mmWave fast Gbps uplink are:

1) Sharing experiences at an event

2) Everywhere AR/VR

3) Media Production and live streaming

4) Smart factories industries


Even though there seems to be a lot of effort in deploying mmWave with many benefits according to Gartner Market Trends: 5G mmWave Stalls in Smartphones Published on 23rd October 2020 there is still some slow adoption of the technology among smartphone manufacturers.

The Gartner reports sites three main findings:

  1. The adoption of mmWave has been slower than expected in smartphones due to a combination of high costs and technical challenges. Gartner estimated that on average, adding mmWave support adds approximately $20 to the cost of a smartphone.

  2. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the restrictions in large gatherings have limited the ability to use these areas as powerful use cases.

  3. Even though mmWave remains critical technology for the evolution of 5G the slow adoption will delay reductions in component costs.

Looking at the impact of mmWave:

​Advantages of mmWave Spectrum

​Challenges of mmWave Spectrum

Spectrum Availability: Large swaths of contiguous spectrum

​Propagation Limitations: mmWave signals do not penetrate walls or other solids, making non-line-of-sight applications challenging

​Propagation Limitations: This allows clearly defined networks in confined spaces

Cost: Initial costs for mmWave integration remain high

Reflection: High reflectivity permits multiple radio paths facilitating MIMO

​Power Consumption: Power challenges exist in mobile/battery-powered applications

High Data Throughput With Limited Interference: This is not a crowded spectrum compared to sub-6GHz

Antenna and RF Front-End Complexity: The RF front end for mmWave, including antenna arrays, is technically challenging

Antenna Size: Extremely small individual antenna elements permit the use of phased array or multiple points of reception/transmission

​Limited Supply Chain: The mmWave supply chain is limited, particularly for mobile components

MIMO = multiple input/multiple output; RF = radio frequency

Source Gartner (October 2020)


Read the full Gartner report: Market Trends: 5G mmWave Stalls in Smartphones

(Available until 10th of June 2022)


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Susie Siouti is the Chief Commercial Officer for SmartViser helping organisations in the Telecommunications industry offer superior end-user quality of experience and service with the introduction of innovative test automation products. Susie has 20 years of experience in the Telecoms industry and in that time has led teams across the world mainly in Testing and Compliance. Holding an MBA from Henley Business School brings a diverse set of skills and expertise, including business acumen, strategic thinking, financial management, sales and marketing expertise, leadership, and innovation.

Susie joined SmartViser in 2016, is part of the internal steering committee, responsible for developing and implementing the company's commercial strategy and encouraging a customer-centric culture. The main mission is to help organizations to create value by offering better quality products and services by improving operational efficiency and innovation.

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