5G field test hits a blistering 3.6Gbps data transfer speed

5G sign
Get ready for 5G.

If you're interested in faster download speeds on your smartphone - and aren't we all? - then you'll want to know about the latest field tests of 5G technology being carried out in Japan.

The new trial carried out by Huawei and Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo is the first to use conditions that match the real world: in other words, a lot of users connecting at once on a spectrum compatible with today's handsets.

The good news is that the engineers managed a peak data transfer speed of 3.6Gbps - not too shabby when you think that 4G maxes out at about 20Mbps. Those kind of speeds could transform our smart cars, our smart cities and just about every other aspect of 21st century life.

Five years' time

"As the first in the world to succeed with such a large multi-user environment test, this is an important milestone," said NTT DoCoMo's Takehiro Nakamura. "This is very encouraging as the industry works to commercialize 5G by 2020... I look forward to even more impressive results when we move to the next phase of [the] field trial in Japan."

Further tests are expected to take place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, while the UK government has promised that Londoners are going to be enjoying 5G speeds within the next five years.

There's a lot of work still to do but the signs are promising. 5G has a theoretical top speed of 20Gbps, but away from laboratories and specialised equipment the actual speed you get on your 2020 flagship smartphone will be lower than that.


David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.