Next-generation 5G speeds will be 10 to 20 Gbps

samsung lead image

A Samsung promo image from earlier 5G work.

Credit: Samsung

ITU, the global spectrum-allocating organization, has reportedly agreed on speed criteria for 5G.


The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has defined 5G network speeds as being 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps), according to an article in the Korea Times.

However, an ITU spokesperson says it will be more like 10 Gbps with peak speeds at 20 Gbps, according to a separate Fierce Wireless report.

The ITU, a United Nations organization, has also come up with a name for the 5G standard – "IMT-2020."

The ITU allocates global radio spectrum and is also responsible for coordinating mobile radio strategy and regulations.

San Diego meeting

How do we know this? The Korean government recently sent a 12-person delegation to an ITU meeting in San Diego. They reported the 20 Gbps insider details back to a Korean newspaper.

The Korea Times quotes an unnamed Ministry of Science official who said that the ITU decided at the visit that 5G should be defined as 20 Gbps.

Korean vision

"The vision for the 5G network and its global standardization schedule has been agreed based on our suggestion," the official said. "This has shown that Korea is leading the world's mobile communication technology and related policies."

"We will beef up international cooperation to have the agreement approved without any problems," the official added.

ITU version

However, Sanjay Acharya, a spokesperson for the ITU, told Fierce Wireless that "as of now, I understand the peak data rate is expected to reach 10 Gbps. However, under certain conditions and scenarios, IMT-2020 would support up to 20 Gbps peak."

For comparison, current wireless speeds with the latest LTE standard can be from 5 to 12 Mbps, with peak speeds approaching 50 Mbps, according to Verizon Wireless' unrelated marketing materials on its website.


The Korea Times goes on to say that Korea will showcase "a successful example" of the tech "at the upcoming 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games." Korean telco KT is an official sponsor of the games.

Internet of Things

The network will also have capacity to provide "more than 100 Mbps average data transmission to over one million Internet of Things (IoT) devices within one square kilometer," the Korea Times article went on to say, quoting the ministry official.


The ITU, on the other hand, has been more muted. Its website merely says that it has now defined its vision and roadmap for 5G mobile development.

It says it defined goals, processes, and timelines at the San Diego meeting.

"The next step is to establish detailed technical performance requirements," the group said in a press release.


I've written about Korean company Samsung's interest in 5G millimeter spectrum in the past, in "Samsung lurking in Millimeter spectrum," and potential new spectrum technology in "How new radio tech will solve the upcoming spectrum crunch," if you're interested in checking out some options available to the ITU.

The ITU reckons it will complete the IMT-2020 standard in 2020, with spectrum being allocated by 2019 and commercial service available from 2020.

Seamlessly connected society

Attention is "now focused on enabling a seamlessly connected society," ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao says on the ITU website of the 5G roadmap.

And now we know that will likely be at 10 to 20 Gbps—with that commercial service just five years from now.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

Must read: Hidden Cause of Slow Internet and how to fix it
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies