The fifth-generation of cellular mobile communications technology is all set to launch early next year. However, its various applications could take years to be fully realized. 

Taiwan IOT Technology and Industry Association (TwIoTA) chairman Frank Huang told Digitimes on Thursday that it would take years for 5G applications to become popular or ubiquitous due to the technology’s costly operations. 

Huang said that it would be costly to operate 5G services because many electronic components for 5G applications haven’t matured yet. Due to this, telecom operators won’t be able to kick off 5G establishments and services across the board right away. 

Another issue that Huang cited is the fact that many operators worldwide still haven’t recouped their investments in 4G licenses and network establishments. This suggests that while U.S. carriers are already prepared to launch 5G services in the country by early next year, other parts of the world are bound to lag behind. 

According to Huang, it would really take years before 5G technology becomes widely used all over the world. This is in spite of the strong demand for faster data transfer speeds. Nevertheless, the arrival of 5G services in the first quarter is a remarkable feat on its own. 

In the U.S., AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile are poised to start offering 5G services utilizing sub-6GHz frequency band sometime in the January-March period. Other parts of North America, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and China are also expected to gain access to the advanced mobile communications technology in 2019, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon told Digitimes in a separate report

With the incoming 5G era, all Android smartphone makers are busy preparing their flagship handsets that would take advantage of the new technology. Samsung and Huawei appear to be on the lead since both are targeting a first-quarter release for their devices. 

Meanwhile, Apple has decided to hold off on offering a 5G-ready iPhone just yet. The Cupertino giant won’t bring 5G support to its famous smartphones until 2020 because it is expecting the initial deployment of 5G networks to be a little problematic. 

5G High cost of operations could delay 5G applications. Photo: Getty Images/Miquel Benitez