San Diego received some good news when AT&T, the first carrier to roll out 5G, announced that the city will be one of the first 12 places in 2019 to get the mobile and wireless communications technology. Here’s what 5G in San Diego means for the burgeoning city.

For San Diego, the arrival of a 5G network is a game-changing moment. The technology has the ability to push San Diego into the future and stimulate development and growth across many industries.


Why is 5G in San Diego so important?

As the fifth generation of wireless technology, many view increased speed as the most notable characteristic of 5G. Greater speed is what will reduce latency, allow more devices to communicate with one another, and enable new innovations, such as driverless cars, to be safer and more efficient.

Qualcomm has run simulations to see real-world speeds of 5G networks. In Frankfurt for instance, Qualcomm found that download speeds increased to 100 Mbps on 5G, up from 8 Mbps on LTE. In San Francisco, browsing speeds jumped from 71 Mbps for 4G users to 1.4 Gbps for 5G users.

Clearly, 5G is incredibly fast and will greatly benefit mobile-based users and technologies, like the Internet of Things.

5G also will replace wired broadband services. How is this possible?

Currently, 4G LTE isn’t fast enough for a home or office full of people to stream 4K videos or play games simultaneously. With 5G, that will be possible. That means companies and families across San Diego and the country can forget the cords. The modem will connect to the 5G network.

5G will catalyze an upgrade cycle for businesses in San Diego

San Diego is a natural choice for AT&T to launch their first 5G networks. The reason perhaps starts with local tech giant Qualcomm. The chip-maker has not only been instrumental in positioning San Diego as an early adopter of 5G technology, they also possess the know-know to successfully bring the ultra-fast technology to businesses and consumers.

Qualcomm’s presence is crucial for San Diego. After all, there’s a high density of life sciences and biotech companies here, with names like Takeda, Pfizer, Illumina, and Thermo Fisher Scientific operating in the city. According to EY, San Diego ranks third globally in biotech venture investment, behind only New England and San Francisco.

As the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation notes, “the life sciences cluster is a major driver of San Diego’s innovation economy.” This is why 5G can have a tremendously positive impact on the city.

For instance, since 5G will improve any applications that require high-speed video or real-time responses, it will certainly enable better telemedicine. It will allow more technologies to be integrated (like AI tools), enhance patient monitoring capabilities, make remote surgeries possible, and expand the reach of healthcare in rural areas and to those with mobility issues.

To fully take advantage of 5G, companies in San Diego will certainly implement plans to upgrade equipment and software. This will undoubtedly not just boost economic activity, but also spur innovation.

5G and the New Wave of Innovation in San Diego

Just as 4G technology vastly upgraded the mobile user experience, unleashed the era of big data, and provided the foundation for technologies like ride-sharing, 5G will propel the next age of possibility.

In San Diego, that’s being seen firsthand in the fostering of 5G startups. XCOM, a 5G-focused startup, is one firm that aims to invent the future of wireless technologies. They plan to invest in 5G startups, as well as nurture and develop ideas in-house. XCOM was started by three former Qualcomm executives in 2018.

Qualcomm itself has also allocated $100 million to startups focusing on commercializing artificial intelligence. The chipmaking giant understands that 5G can lead to the mainstream use of AI, such robotics and machine learning platforms, and is making efforts to support the development.

Additionally, Apple, who recently opened a campus that’s expected to bring more than 1,000 jobs to the local economy, will attract new talent to the area and offer players across many industries the chance to leverage new opportunities. For example, partnerships between Apple and healthcare startups could be mutually beneficial. Apple could gain more momentum in the healthcare space, and startups in the industry could learn how to use 5G and other technologies to their advantage.

5G and San Diego: A bright future

5G technology presents an unparalleled opportunity for the city of San Diego to build a more prosperous, connected, and secure future.

Companies that rely on mobile technology should learning how to use 5G to their advantage early on. That begins with doing the right research, allocating resources properly, making good partnerships, and bringing in it services and tech talent. This is how a competitive edge is gained.

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