eMBB ushers in the age of 5G
December 2, 2019
demand and excitement for the latest next generation mobile technology
is growing as users now demand increased data throughput on their
devices, enhanced signal reliability, and better coverage. Enhanced
Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will enable 5G to do this by focusing on
data-driven use cases that require high rates of data across a large
coverage area mainly through mobile devices, including smartphones,
tablets, laptops, Mi-Fi, and wearables. ABI Research forecasts that
shipments of eMBB enabled mobile devices will increase from 15 million
in 2019 to 1 billion in 2024, at a CAGR of 132.4%.
“Initially, eMBB is an extension of 4G LTE, relying on the previous
generation network to provide the advantages of implementing 5G.
Smartphones and Mi-Fi devices are getting the technology first as these
devices are the ones that typically provide cellular connectivity
throughout the day. Other device types expected to see the technology
integrated from 2020 onward,” said Stephanie Tomsett, Research Analyst
at ABI Research.
Multiple companies have already released 5G devices, with more expected
to continue to reach the market. In terms of eMBB 5G devices,
smartphones will dominate, with roughly 87% of 5G mobile device
shipments in 2024. Companies including Huawei, Lenovo, LG, Oppo,
Samsung, Vivo, Xiaomi, and ZTE already offer 5G devices, with Apple yet
to release a 5G smartphone. Several Mi-Fi devices have also been
released, including those from HTC, Inseego, Motorola, and ZTE. Lenovo
has confirmed that is working with Qualcomm to develop a 5G laptop.
the 5G technology evolves to no longer rely on 4G, mobile devices will
continue to require more components and more processing capabilities,
with particular emphasis on reducing the impact made on the form factor.
A few suppliers have developed multiple 5G modems and platforms for
various mobile device types across the price tiers, including Qualcomm
and MediaTek, although not all have yet reached commercial deployment.
Additionally, some device manufacturers develop their own chipsets, with
5G versions now added to their line-ups, to be used for their own
devices, including Huawei and Samsung (the latter of which also uses
Qualcomm’s 5G chipsets in some regions). With its acquisition of Intel’s
smartphone modem business, Apple may be expected to adopt the same
strategy in 2020.
“To stand alone from 4G LTE, 5G technology will require a greater number
of RF and RFFE components such as transceivers, amplifiers, trackers,
antennas, and MIMO systems, which could lead to substantial changes in
the design of smartphones. All the new components need to be added to
ensure that 5G works correctly, but if that comes at the expense of
device size, form factor, or battery life, then the consumer user
experience will be compromised and demand hampered. Device manufacturers
need to work tightly with modem and component suppliers to ensure that
5G can deliver on its promise and fit to expected eMBB device
specifications,” Tomsett concludes.