The highly anticipated emergence of 5G is on pace to transform the entire technology landscape with promises of unparalleled technological innovation beyond any of its predecessors. The unique attributes and architecture behind 5G create massive opportunities for the telecom industry to enable a smarter and better-connected world. This post examines the future benefits 5G has in store for consumers along with upcoming growth opportunities for telecom and communication service providers (CSPs).
The fifth generation of wireless communication infrastructure assures immense value for the consumer market. With reports of speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G LTE, consumers can download and stream high definition videos within seconds. 5G also enables faster response times by reducing latency to virtually eliminate lag time. Connectivity is also expected to increase with 5G enabled cell towers having the capacity to support up to a million devices per square kilometer at once. The combined attributes of faster speed, lower latency, and greater connectivity unlocks capabilities to power disruptive technologies across all major industries. Some of these breakthroughs include the adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to enhance education, employee training, healthcare, tourism, retail, and entertainment experiences. 5G speeds and low latency will largely impact the movement towards self-driving cars, with vehicle-to-vehicle communication enabled to transfer mass amounts of data and exceed the timing of human reflexes. Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication will also connect cars with roads, bus stops, traffic lights, and street lamps to create safer, smarter, and more reliable public transportation services.
The effects of 5G will without a doubt have a lasting effect on telecom and CSP revenue streams. One study projects worldwide revenues from 5G services reaching upwards of $247 billion by 2025. One major 5G use case for mobile operators is to diversify their offerings through network slicing, or the ability to partition multiple virtual networks from a common physical network. This added network flexibility allows telecom providers to provide networks as-a-service with customized offerings and deploy select functionality to certain market segments, ultimately driving higher efficiency and faster time to market. The 5G promise of lightning fast data speed and greater bandwidth also opens doors for CSPs to partner with over-the-top (OTT) providers to provide HD content and immersive AR/VR technologies to mobile customers. The ability to sustain massive simultaneous connections at low latency will drastically increase the number of Internet of Things (IoT) deployments and secure additional revenue sources for CSPs. One of the more immediate use cases for 5G monetization is through fixed wireless broadband, which uses radio signals to transmit connectivity to fixed residential and business locations. As a result, adoption from B2B markets will ramp up as the development of 5G enabled applications and technologies are expected to drastically change and create entirely new business operations and service offerings.
As 5G nears closer to reality, it creates a major ripple effect within the telecom industry. Major U.S. carriers have started the initial roll out of 5G networks, with AT&T as the first carrier that launched 5G service in December 2018 to select cities. Next is Verizon which plans to release standards-based 5G service to 20 cities in 2019. T-Mobile announced their release of 5G to 30 cities in late 2019 and anticipates nationwide launch by 2020. Telecom giants like Qualcomm and Nokia are actively partnering with carriers and countries around the world to provide 5G network solutions. As 5G builds more agile wireless networks with the potential to steer technological innovation beyond perceived boundaries, it is critical for CSPs to become more agile and adept at responding to inevitable rapid market changes and evolving needs. As a result, we’ll see more CSPs gearing up with an increased focus on adopting network agility, automation, and customer centricity to realize the full benefits of 5G.