Summer of Dragons

“How 5G deployments helped me detox from Game of Thrones”

By Bill Welch, Sr Product Manager, Mobile Solutions and Innovation

Back in the spring, I was suffering from a serious case of Game of Thrones withdrawal after binge watching all eight seasons and 73 episodes in a short period of time. My daily conversations got intertwined with Game of Thrones themes with anyone who would listen. I was desperate for more and I needed something to distract me.

As luck would have it, large scale commercial deployments of 5G got started in the spring. The three South Korean operators launched commercial services on the same day, April 4th. They quickly grew their 5G subscribers from 1 million in just under 70 days, to 2 million 58 days later, and then 3 million 46 days after that. South Korea quick converted 5% of their subscribers over to 5G service in under 5 months.

The rest of the world was also very active during the summer with 5G deployments. With new commercial 5G networks popping up every day, by the end of September there were thirty-five 5G commercial networks and we only started the year with five.

In April, May, June, July, and August things took off with a number of networks and countries bringing 5G to consumers. Vodafone was the most active by lighting up 5G in 7 countries in the Middle East and Europe. By the end of the summer all continents around the globe were represented with 5G networks in Australia, South Africa, and Uruguay in South America. Each day I looked forward to seeing more and more activity and deployments. I was finally able to clear my head of my Game of Thrones obsession and I could focus on tracking 5G and its daily developments.

So what about the “Summer of Dragons”? Watch the video below of SK Telecom using a dragon as part of its marketing of their 5G launch. SK Telecom used 5G and augmented reality (AR) technology along with a dragon to kick-off baseball season in South Korea. My Game of Thrones compulsion came full circle and crashed back toward me. No matter what topic I investigated it all came back to the epic struggle between good and evil. Kings, queens, dragons, and Whitewalkers littered my thoughts. I couldn’t escape…

Is the decommissioning of 2G and 3G networks the Whitewalkers in a 5G world? Will the end of circuit switch voice mean that “winter is coming” to voice communications? Let’s leave that topic for another episode of my Game of Thrones flashbacks…