Is 5G the Future for Radio?

Sep 2019  RadioWorks Blog


Short answer, it’s possible. Last week, ‘Radio Futurologist’, James Cridland asked the somewhat overlooked question: is 5G the future for radio? The new technology has been the talk of the town for a year or so now, and although the switch from ‘4G’ to ‘5G’ may sound a bit like a boring network update, it’s actually quite the opposite.

With expected game-changing speeds and access to a wider range of smarter data, many foresee sizeable benefits from 5G connectivity, particularly in the digital space. So, what’s in it for Radio?

For Broadcasters

For broadcasters, 5G is particularly intriguing as it’s the only technology around that can deliver everything from radio and TV, to online; both live and on-demand. So it could, in theory, replace a network of radio or TV transmitters and further simplify the way networks connect with audiences.

For Listeners

Higher speeds mean higher quality content. 5G is not only a huge bonus for networks, but also for their listeners. According to Cridland, there’ve been tests to shift people from regular internet streams to a 5G Broadcast stream automatically. For instance, if a football match comes on, one that many people want to watch, the network could automatically switch from a normal internet stream over to 5G, to create a vastly improved experience for audiences.

Having said that, although 5G may seem like a no brainer and could potentially shape the future of broadcasting, the industry is currently in no rush to shift just yet. Radio listeners choose to listen in various ways. So for now, using a combination of internet, FM and DAB+ “offers benefits for everyone, whatever technology they use.”



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