For years, we’ve been hearing about it and promised it will be coming to our local networks. It even was recently the inspiration for not one, but multiple Super Bowl ads. So, what is 5G all about? How fast will it grow, what benefits will it bring, and what infrastructure will it require?
Countries and companies alike are racing against one another to offer the best 5G experience possible. ABI Research forecasts that global 5G subscriptions will grow by about 48% from 234 million in 2020 to 347 million in 2021. Moreover, GSMA predicts that, by 2025, one in five mobile connections will be running on a 5G network.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will invest in lower price tiers of the 5G market, which could potentially drop the smart phone price point below $200. On the downside, as users rapidly switch subscriptions and devices to 5G, waste associated with electronics will increase.
In addition to delivering faster speeds and lower latency, 5G will also bring us better entertainment through supporting greater convergence among video, games, and music.
One example of convergence between video games and music comes from rapper Travis Scott’s virtual concert which was staged within the video game Fortnite. The concert attracted 27.7 million players, launching the rapper’s newest single to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and making it Epic Games’ most successful in-game event ever.
Not only will 5G make virtual entertainment speedier and more interesting, but the fifth generation mobile network will also position companies to thrive despite requirements to work from home. Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, argues, “A resilient company that is well set to grow once this pandemic ends will be characterized by its digital agility as much as anything else.”
This digital agility may derive, in part, from effective adoption of 5G services.
That said, the pandemic has led to less demand for indoor coverage which may cause delays in indoor 5G deployments. Regardless of indoor coverage delays, telcos will continue purchasing 5G spectrum and building 5G infrastructure.
5G infrastructure is beyond what we’ve seen before. Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon explains, “It needs to be dense, high-performance, cost-effective and power-efficient for both indoors and outdoors, and support public and private networks with a scalable and flexible networking equipment for diverse deployments across multiple industries and use cases.”
Based on its rising consumer popularity, significant advantages, and business demand, 5G seems up for the challenge.
Stay tuned for Part 2: How 5G Presents New Network Considerations.