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EE seeks guinea pig millennial hipsters for 5G experiments

Calling all Bongs – this won't hurt a bit

Millennials are notoriously fearful of handling raw meat – but EE hopes they'll be less wary fondling experimental radio equipment.

Bragging rights for 5G have begun, and EE is targeting the Nathan Barleys, Steve Bongs and hipster millennials around Shoreditch.

A trial will permit "five small businesses and five homes in the area" to experience 5G speeds on prototype broadband hardware from October. Rootless millennials who fear touching raw chicken may be keener to handle 5G – something we can put to the test quite soon.

EE described this as the UK's first live 5G trial, despite the 5G feature set being up in the air.

By contrast, Vodafone said the benefits will be more appreciated by business. 5G is an "enterprise play", Scott Petty CTO at Vodafone told us this week. This shouldn't be surprising, as Petty led Vodafone's enterprise unit, driving IoT infrastucture, before being appointed CTO in February.

The increasing presence of industrials like John Deere, Bosch and Volvo on the telecoms standards committees has confirmed this.

Petty was frank that the coming 18 months would see an industry tussle over what features defined proper 5G, something that will ultimately be fixed in the consumer mind by the smartphone makers: Apple and Samsung decide the feature set. "It's still a live debate," Petty noted. Don't be surprised to see Gigabit LTE evolve alongside the experimental 5G.

Vodafone said 5G's low latencies (45ms) and >1Gbit/s data throughput will eventually bring a new range of applications, but it will take time. The 3G and 4G adoption curves took roughly five years to reach 50 per cent. 5G will benefit from new battery technologies given that the speed, latency and coverage gains don't come for free.

Sources have confirmed that Motorola's 5G Mod is real – and that's likely to be the first 5G capable phone. Trials like the Shoreditch experiment are likely to use dongles to provide WiFi hotspots, though. ®

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