Building the First Consumer-Owned 5G Network in the World
On April 14th, 2021, the Helium community voted to start paving the way for a 5G version of the People’s Network. After partnering with FreedomFi, an open-source 5G device manufacturer, Helium has officially started to implement its 5G infrastructure. Consumer-owned Helium 5G-enabled hotspots are quickly becoming available and this second iteration of their wireless communications network will begin to bloom by the end of this year.
Quelling the Fears & Anxieties Surrounding 5G
As an average technology consumer during the past year or so, you’ve almost certainly heard of 5G and likely have some understanding that it will improve wireless communication. As an average internet user during the same timeframe, you’ve probably also run into a number of conspiracy theories and general anxieties related to this new generation of networks. We won’t be delving into the intricacies of 5G infrastructure or the conspiracies that abound, but there are useful connections to be made between the two.
Fear and anxiety are common instigators of conspiratorial ideas and are also frequent emotional responses to technological innovation. In this instance, the core of the anxiety surrounding 5G is focused on its infrastructure and centralized control of the networks. Fortunately, the Helium Network is rapidly entering the domain of 5G wireless communication. With their consumer-owned People’s Network, Helium can quell both infrastructural and centralization-based fears spawned from the 5G evolution.
“5G is one of the most important technologies of this decade. It’s a geopolitical issue, an infrastructure arms race. Everyone in the world wants and needs a faster connection to the internet.” - Amir Haleem, Helium CEO & Founder
As Helium CEO & Founder, Amir Haleem, states above, 5G is “a geopolitical issue, an infrastructure arms race.” Since the conceptual birth of this new wireless communications technology, Telecom companies and government agencies across the globe have been scrambling to identify the fastest and least expensive ways to establish their 5G dominance. When implemented in a centralized fashion, laying the foundation for 5G network infrastructure is daunting, to say the least. When using cryptocurrency incentivization, open-source software, and decentralized ownership of infrastructure, the creation of a 5G network becomes a lot more attainable.
How Does the Helium Network Plan to Create a 5G Network?
Helium plans to utilize the same implementation strategy for their 5G network as they continue to do with their current LoRaWAN network. With the help of FreedomFi’s 5G device manufacturing, Helium will have 5G-enabled hotspots available for select US cities by the end of September 2021. These new devices utilize the open CBRS 5G spectrum band within the U.S. for now, but Helium’s team expects to expand internationally and to cover “a variety of spectrum bands” by early 2022.
These hotspots will function in almost the same way as the LoRaWAN devices. They will help establish a consumer-owned mesh network of 5G hotspots that earn HNT based on device utilization. And 5G modification kits for existing Helium Hotspots are currently be developed, which will rapidly expand their second network by tapping into their pre-established ecosystem.
Meanwhile, traditional telecom companies are working tirelessly to install complex hubs and upgrade legacy infrastructure so that they can maintain centralized control over their 5G networks at a tremendous cost. According to a McKinsey article from 2018, in order to facilitate the transition to 5G within a centralized telecom system, “network-related capital expenditures would have to increase 60 percent from 2020 through 2025, roughly doubling the total cost of ownership (TCO) during that period.” While some progress towards the upgrading of existing infrastructure has been made since then, there’s still not a clear path toward centralized 5G without substantial financial investment. It’s more than likely that the burden of those costs will be placed on the consumer.
What Will the 5G Helium Network Do?
Unlike their current LoRaWAN setup, Helium’s 5G network is designed to be utilized by the average consumer using their phones. In an interview with Stacey Higginbotham from Stacey On IOT, Frank Mong (COO of Helium) noted that early tests of their 5G network capabilities looked very promising. According to Mong, “people using a modern iPhone could walk about one-and-half to two blocks and get coverage from a single FreedomFi/Helium box.” While a 0.5-2 block radius doesn’t sound great for a cellular network, that area will exponentially expand as more and more HNT earners adopt these new 5G hotspots or modify their existing setups.
What Does This Mean for the Current Helium Hotspot Owners?
Current Helium Hotspot owners will be fully versed in the ecosystem and have a tremendous advantage over newcomers. HNT earners using JAG’s hotspots will also get earlier access to the limited number of FreedomFi devices being made available, allowing for a smooth transition or evolution into the 5G network. And, as we mentioned above, current LoRaWAN HNT Hotspot owners will eventually be able to 5G-enable their existing devices. This will completely open up the possibility to earn HNT on Helium’s 5G network for free with the help of JAG.
As with the first iteration of the Helium Network, JAG will be subsidizing the cost of FreedomFi Helium 5G hotspots and the installation required for those devices. In exchange for that subsidy, JAG will take a commission of the HNT earned by each device. The FreedomFi installation costs are expected to range from $1,000-$5,000 depending on the power of the 5G radio. By signing up with JAG, you can minimize those costs, become a part of this revolutionary 5G ecosystem, and begin passively earning substantial amounts of HNT. All you have to do is apply!
Click here to apply with JAG today and be first-in-line for the Helium 5G network revolution!