Will 5G make a significant difference in enterprise technology planning over the next decade? There’s evidence that executives are skeptical that 5G will bring big changes.
According to a recent survey from professional services provider Accenture, 53 percent of executives believe 5G will enable them to do little that they cannot do with 4G. Only 37 percent of executives believe 5G is “poised to bring a revolutionary wave of change and innovation.” Who is right?
5G skeptics may be falling victim to an availability bias or a lack of imagination. They focus on what 5G can do for their businesses today. They consider what faster mobile connections could do to revolutionize current operations and the services they offer right now.
But the potential benefit of 5G isn’t bigger, better, and faster iterations of what we have today. Instead, the focus should be on new solutions, novel technologies, and transformative products. It’s about having the vision to see where 5G will take the market over the next decade and longer.
Global 5G Subscriptions to Hit 1 Billion by 2023
According to CCS Insight, a global research and advisory company trusted by the telecoms sector, the number of 5G subscriptions will hit 1 billion in the next three years. Subscriptions are expected to rise to over 2 billion by 2025.
The majority of those subscribers will be in China. But telecoms giant Ericsson projects 268 million U.S. subscriptions by 2024 for market penetration of 70 percent. Many of those subscribers will be businesses, and they’ll be looking for service providers who can help them leverage the capabilities of 5G in their operations.
5G is coming. The question is whether service providers, application developers, and business leaders will be ready to take advantage. Those that aren’t are likely to be overtaken by forward-looking competitors.
75 Percent of Executives Consider Digitalization Very Important or Crucial
The majority of executives across almost all industries believe that digitalization of their operations is crucial to their company’s future. Over 60 percent have a clear plan for digitalization. The drive to digitalization is a huge economic opportunity for service providers.
What does this have to do with 5G? Today, 5G may not be a major driver of value where digitalization is concerned. Tomorrow is a different story. Businesses that establish themselves as trustworthy digitalization partners will be well-positioned to take advantage of the 5G opportunity in the future. As researchers at Ericsson put it in Serving the 5G powered business: “Service providers benefit from taking position already now to become trusted digitalization partners, before 5G becomes a critical enabler.”
5G Will Enable $13.3 Trillion of Global Economic Output by 2035
It’s a bold researcher who makes confident predictions about economic output 15 years into the future. But if forecasts from IHS Markit are anything close to accurate, the economic opportunity of 5G goes well beyond the telecoms sector. Their figure is based on assessments of over 21 different use cases for 5G across 16 industry sectors. Researchers calculated the value chain for those use cases.
Consider one of the most exciting areas of innovation likely to be fueled by 5G: immersive mobile virtual reality. The low-latencies and increased bandwidths of 5G make mobile VR viable. A flourishing mobile VR sector will generate a global value chain.
VR will fuel new business in software and related services, which powers new business in electronics manufacturing and hardware innovation, which impacts businesses from mining to logistics. In addition to which, there is value to companies and individuals directly attributable to the ubiquitous availability of VR, which could transform how we collaborate, communicate, design, and access entertainment. The same story could be told about many different sectors: IoT, smart cities, healthcare, and more.
5G skeptics may be right that faster phones won’t transform their business in 2020. But it would be a shortsighted executive who ignores the transformative potential of 5G in the medium and long term.
About Dean – Dean Madison is the president of TD Madison & Associates. The company is founded on the principle of providing a more predictable approach for evaluating the cult
ure, strategic fit and qualifications of potential candidates for key senior-level positions within the cable and telecom industries. Follow them on Twitter @TD_Madison.