Samsung and KT Corporation (previously Korea Telecom) announced they have completed early 5G connectivity trials with the goal of delivering the world's first mobile 5G trial service at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
This means that there will be some form of public 5G connectivity a bit earlier than the target year 2020, when 5G connectivity is scheduled to take off globally. However, it is up to smartphone manufacturers, chip makers, and ultimately – carriers – to bring the technology to customers.
The fundamentals already seem to be in place, with Qualcomm having developed the X50 5G mobile modem and carriers such as Verizon, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular having commenced tests and led the development of standards. To make sure that 5G testing has some common standards, Verizon is co-founding the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance.
Meanwhile, Sprint says that it has enough capacity at the moment and estimates it will be carrying three times the amount of data that it currently is routing through its pipelines by 2020. 5G is supposed to deliver transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps. By around 2020, data consumption is expected to skyrocket by 30 times and carriers' equipment will become smaller, installed closer to the users - for example, in bus stops and lamps.