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MWC 2019: 5G and IoT could take 10 years to reach potential, says OnePlus CEO Lau

Paul Lipscombe
March 13, 2019

The manufacturer also gave a live demo of its 5G phone

5G is going to “fundamentally change our lives”, according to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, who gave a vision of his expectations for 5G at the Mobile World Congress.

Lau made the prediction at a panel session on 5G and its capabilities, where he was joined by EE and BT CEO Marc Allera and Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon.

Lau believes that 5G will have three stages, with the second really beginning to take effect from 2021 after the initial launch phase.

He predicted that a host of smart functionalities would come out between 2021 and 2025, with a third stage culminating in the “age of IoT” between 2025 to 2030.

Lau said: “I’m personally hugely optimistic about 5G; I see that in the next 10 years, it is going to fundamentally transform our lives.

“It’s great that Qualcomm and EE are both optimistic about 5G and its possibilities.” Lau questioned those who doubt the potential of 5G as he urged people to get behind the technology.

“I’ve heard that people doubt 5G, but from our perspective we see a really interesting trend. There’s a lack of imagination with respect to people looking at the longer term. For example, in the future how is it that 5G will transition and change our lives? People haven’t thought about this.”

OnePlus conducted a live demo of its 5G phone on display at the show, with EE slated to become the first operator to sell the smartphone later this year.

BT’s Allera says the network has been working “around the clock” to get 5G launched.

EE is set to launch 5G in 16 UK cities this year, with London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham and Manchester the first cities to receive the technology.

Calling for patience with the deployment of 5G, Allera said: “We have to accept that the service won’t be perfect at first and we’ll need to work together to support it and learn from it. Win together, fail together.

“It’s really exciting. Faster networks can create new businesses, applications and services. Our challenge is bringing 5G to life as soon as possible.”

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