1G to 6G: The Telecom Industry Growth Stages Guide You'll Ever Need

Published On: October 2022

The Telecom industry is one of the few industrial segments that has seen enormous developments in a span of decades. Starting from the basic telecom services, or to which we refer to as 1G, to the latest 5G technology and the upcoming 6G connectivity, the telecom industry has witnessed the most advancements in a short span of time compared to any other industry.

In this article, let us have an overview of the telecom industry and the history of its evolution over the years.

Telecom Industry

Companies that make it possible for people all over the world to communicate with one another are what make up the telecommunications industry, or in short, we call it as telecom industry.

The telecom sector includes companies that make it possible to communicate via telephone or the internet through radio waves, cables by using wires or being completely wireless. The firms operating in the telecom sector developed the infrastructure that enables data transfer in the form of text, voice, audio, or video to be transmitted to any location around the world.

The most profitable businesses in this industry are those that operate telephone networks, including landline and wireless networks, satellite and cable television networks, and internet service providers.

Evolution of the Telecom Sector

The Telegraph, which was the first instrument that could send and receive messages through mechanical means, was invented in the 1830s, marking the beginning of the modern communications sector.

It cut down the amount of time it took to communicate from days to hours, much like new mobile technology has reduced the amount of time it takes to convey significant volumes of data from hours to seconds. Every new innovation, such as the telephone, radio, television, computer, and mobile device, contributed to the industry's expansion. These technological advancements caused a change in the way individuals live their lives and conduct their business.

Earlier, in order for households and businesses to be connected via telecommunications, physical wires were required. In today's world, portable forms of technology are increasingly common. At this point in time, wireless digital technology is rapidly becoming the dominant mode of communication.

The industry's structure has also shifted from being dominated by a small number of significant firms to a more decentralized system with less regulation and fewer hurdles to entry. The service providers are often large public organizations, whereas smaller companies are responsible for the sale and maintenance of the infrastructure and devices (such as routers, switches, and other infrastructure) that are necessary to facilitate communication.

When we talk about the evolution of the telecom industry, then let us start from the beginning, i.e., from the basic version of the telecommunication channel or what we say as 1G.

1G to 6G: The Telecom Industry Growth Stages Guide You
First Generation or 1G Services

In the early days, mobile phones were not only thick and heavy but also ungainly. They did not come with screens and instead had large antennas and powerful batteries. The phone had spotty reception on the network, and the amount of time it could stay powered on was pitiful. Despite this, this is the point where the tale of mobile networks began.

The first generation of this technology, or we can say the 1G connectivity made it possible for two supported devices to communicate with one another across a wireless network. 1G only supported voice calls because it was based on the analogue system, and those voice calls had poor quality due to interference. In addition, 1G was only functional in a particular location due to the fact that the network did not permit roaming in any way.

2G Services

The problems that plagued the first generation of mobile networks were resolved by the second generation, which also included additional capabilities. The first-generation analogue system has been replaced with the far more advanced digital technology for wireless transmission known as the Global System for Mobile communication (GSMA) or GSM. Because it was based on digital technology, the 2G standard enabled phone conversations and data services such as the short message service (SMS) and the multimedia messaging service to have a higher quality (MMS).

In addition, this mobile network supported roaming, making it possible for customers to answer calls, send and receive texts, and access multimedia material while moving around. With this, the 2G network made it possible to provide authentic telephone services.

Even though it later acquired support for the internet in the form of GPRS, which is known as General Packet Radio Service and EDGE, which is Enhanced Data GSM Evolution, this was not sufficient to cause a generational change on its own. Consequently, there was also 2.5G prior to the transition to 3G around the world.

3G Network – the Beginning of High-Speed Connectivity

High-speed internet services were made available through the third generation of mobile networks, which paved the way for the development of smartphone app ecosystems. In spite of the fact that 3G made it possible to have mobile television, online radio services, and email on phones, video calling and mobile phone applications are what really define the 3G age.

It was at this time that Apple's iPhone and Google's Android smartphone began to gain market share. Kilobytes per second (Kbps) was the measure of internet speed that was supported by early versions of 3G.

Similar to the transition from 2G to 3G, there was no direct move to 4G. With the advent of new technologies such as HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) and HSUPA (High-Speed Uplink Packet Access), there was a 3.5G standard that was designed to improve internet speeds measured in megabytes per second (Mbps).

4G - the Revolution

The third-generation network connectivity, i.e., 3G connectivity, laid the groundwork for the fourth generation, 4G, which is the generation of mobile network that we are presently using.

The ideas that were offered by 3G became a reality with 4G, with a higher data rate and sophisticated multimedia services that are supported by the mobile network. Some examples of these types of services are voice calls in high definition, video calls, and other internet services. It accomplished this by perfecting the LTE (Long Term Evolution) system, which allows for the simultaneous transmission of speech and data and dramatically increases the data throughput.

Internet calling, also known as VoLTE (which stands for Voice over LTE), is just one of the many benefits that come along with using a 4G mobile network. Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi), which allows users to make voice calls even in locations with poor or no network reception, is made possible by this network advancement.

5G - The Latest High-Speed Network Connectivity With Advanced Features

Each generation of communication technology, from 1G all the way up to 4G, brought about substantial changes in network connectivity. These advancements included improving upon the use cases of the generation before it as well as bringing brand-new ones.

On the other hand, 5G is forecasted to be unique in the sense that it will not only be an additional mobile network aimed solely at smartphone consumers but will also cater to the needs of businesses. This is due to the fact that the subsequent generation of networks would not only bring improvements in data transfer rates but also in throughput and latency.

Because of its low latency and high throughput, the network is ideally suited for application in business settings, particularly in relation to automation and connected ecosystems. On the consumer end, the network would provide high internet speeds and would very certainly play an essential part in developing technologies such as the metaverse, with the help of artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT devices.

Basically, 5G is best suited for such high-end devices and systems that completely operate on internet services. And with the high-speed internet offered by the 5G technology makes it easier to function with the advanced features of technology like AI, machine learning and IoT.

6G - The Future of Network Connectivity

It is expected that 6G would make it easier for businesses to embrace 5G use cases at scale by improving efficiencies and lowering costs, particularly at the enterprise level.

Consider, for instance, the idea of something called the metaverse, which is an example of one of the use cases for 5G that holds the potential to shake up both the analogue and the digital realms.

With 6G, the metaverse would not only mature into a complete model, but it would also likely become unified with the actual world with the assistance of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which would be possible with the advancement of 6G technology.

According to a study conducted, the most distinguishing feature of 6G would be its capacity to perceive the environment, as well as people and things. It is anticipated that India will offer 6G services by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024 with infrastructure that was constructed locally.

Now that we have understood the evolution of the telecom sector from 1G to 6G let us now compare the existing prominent network connections and understand what differs from the previous and newer versions of connectivity.

4G vs 5G Technology

4G Technology

5G Technology

It is a fourth-generation network connectivity. It is the fifth generation of high-speed network connectivity.
Maximum internet speed for downloading is 1 GBPS The maximum internet speed offered by 5G for downloading purpose is 2.5 GBPS
4G has a latency of about 50 ms 5G offers a latency of 1 ms
4G network is unable to distinguish fixed and mobile devices

5G technology makes use of cognitive radio techniques for identification and provide the most appropriate delivery channel.

4G technology can be used for high-speed applications including mobile, TV and smart wearable devices.

5G is said to be the best for high resolution video streaming, autonomous vehicles, and all other autonomous applications.

Now, as we know that 6G is the next thing to be introduced in the global telecom industry, so, let us differentiate it with its predecessor.

5G vs 6G Technology

5G Technology 6G Technology
5G utilizes spectrum of frequencies ranging from 6 GHz to 24.25 GHz 6G incorporates spectrum of operating frequencies ranging from 95 GHz to 3 THz
5G operates at a maximum data speed of about 2.5 GB/s 6G can deliver a peak data rate of about 1000 GB/s.
Due to narrow frequency bands the operation of IoT devices may get affected during peak usage hours 6G technology will be the best in-class network connectivity for IoT devices, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
5G has a comparatively lower latency to its predecessor which is 5ms 6G being the most advanced network technology, the latency will slip to 1 millisecond to 1 microsecond

Now, after having so much information on the evolution of the telecom sector from 1G to 6G, and 6G being the most advanced technological innovation, let us now have a quick overview of the market associated with the 6G technology.

Global 6G Market Overview

Recent technological developments, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain, have increased the demand for 6G communication and hence accelerated its development.

In addition, the high-speed internet and remote connectivity that are hallmarks of 6G technologies will help propel the commercialization of connectivity-reliant products. Over the forecast period that ends in the year 2040, the global 6G market is predicted to increase due to a number of factors, including rising urbanization and the rise of communication as a fundamental human need.

Connectivity and communication have also played a major part in this movement. The adoption of 6G technology is predicted to be significantly influenced by the growing emphasis on "smart cities" and the subsequent increase in urban population.

With this, the global 6G market is expected to earn a substantial revenue of USD 340 billion by 2040 with an astonishing growth rate of 58.1%, which shows how faster the said market will propel in the upcoming times.

Opportunities in the 6G market

The use of Holography in communication creates immense opportunities in the global market. Recording and reproducing true three-dimensional images of objects is the goal of holographic technology, which does so by employing the principles of interference and diffraction.

Although a head-mounted display and technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality can be useful, the best holographic display will be based on the human eye. The growing need for holographic technology to actualize the interactivity between projection content and users in fields as diverse as communication, telemedicine, workplace design, and entertainment gaming is anticipated to fuel the growth of the 6G market in the near future.

So, to conclude, we can say that the 6G technology will bring a revolution in the telecom sector and eventually help the global telecom industry evolve, earning significant revenue during the stipulated time period. With this, the high-speed network connectivity that 6G brings in will make the world move faster than ever.

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