5G, the much hyped fifth generation of mobile networks is set to begin rolling out in late 2019, and it promises superfast mobile internet that is 10 to 20 times fast than anything available at present.
So how exactly will 5G really our mobile experience and what business opportunities could this new technology present?
In this article we will try to separate the fact from fiction and look at how exactly 5G might impact your business.
5G is the fifth generation of mobile internet that will succeed the 4G standard that most phones currently use.
But what exactly differentiates it from 4G?
Well, to put it simply, 5G claims to make better use of the radio spectrum to greatly increase available bandwidth, helping to deliver much faster mobile internet speeds and wider coverage.
If 5G can deliver on the speeds being promised, then there is a whole host of different ways it could be applied by businesses, in both a B2B sense and when interacting with customers.
Some of these applications may include:
And then there is the myriad of potential applications for 5G that we maybe can’t foresee, much in the same way that the smartphone unexpectedly ushered in the rise of the app and led to people being connected 24/7.
In the digital age, there have been a number technological breakthroughs that have shaken-up the business world and 5G looks poised to be the next major disrupter.
How quickly firms start to feel the impact of 5G will ultimately depend on the nature of their business.
Beyond consumer electronics, where companies are already preparing for the roll out of 5G with the development of new devices, the rest of the tech sector will unsurprisingly be one of first areas to be affected by 5G, with analysts forecasting the new standard will be critical for innovations in both AI and automation.
Other sectors that are likely to be early adopters of 5G include banking, entertainment, online retail or basically any consumer-facing industry as they seek to attract new customers with promises of the shiny new features that will be offered by 5G.
For other industries it may take more time for the impact of 5G to filter down, either directly or indirectly, with some smaller businesses likely to be resistant to any changes for a couple of years or until it at least becomes more mainstream.
However, it’s important to point out that that impact of 5G will not be universally positive for businesses, with some such as traditional internet and TV providers potentially being hurt by 5G, with its faster-than-broadband speeds and the lure of ultra-high definition streaming making old wired connections redundant.
One major caveat to 5G is that users will need to purchase a 5G compatible phone when the new standard eventually launches, similar to how we had to upgrade our phones when 4G was introduced nearly a decade ago.
On-top of this 5G faces a potentially slow and fragmented roll out, with telecom firms expected to initially focus their energy on major urban centres, many consumers could be left waiting for years for superfast mobile internet to reach their areas.
This may mean that some smaller businesses may wish to hold off on investing in new 5G compatible systems until it becomes more cost efficient down the line.
While we have spoken a lot of the impact of 5G, it bears keeping in mind that 4G won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
If fact some analysts believe that the introduction of 5G may help 4G to proliferate to wider markets.
With 5G set to alleviate some of the congestion on existing 4G networks, which should hopefully lead to the older standard becoming more reliable and cheaper, allowing for more widespread adoption in developing countries, with over 4 billion 4G devices expected to be in use by 2020.
This could open new overseas opportunities for businesses, with a whole host of potential consumers who were previously unreachable due to poor internet speeds.
Ultimately 5G is expected to benefit businesses both big and small and although the roll out won’t happen overnight, it would be prudent for companies to begin planning for how best to leverage the new technology.
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