6 things you need to know about 5G

5G will have a catalytic effect on a wide range of IT technology and services, impacting almost all parts of industry and society far beyond mobile technologies and business models.

Any supplier touched by the mobile internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services, consumer electronics or automation needs to assess the coming impact of 5G, according to 451 Research.

“IT players need to think about IoT now and 5G soon,” said Ken Rehbehn, principal analyst, mobile telecom, at 451 Research. “Whether it is real-time analytics, data centre design, location-based web services, or social networks and digital currencies, 5G will affect demand patterns as early as 2018.”

451 highlights six trends that will influence 5G’s rollout and impact on the IT

1. 5G is not just another G

It will trigger a wave of innovation to make information and computing power instantaneously available.

2. 5G innovations will spread far and wide

Innovation is needed in mobile technology, real-time analytics, edge-of-network data centres, and new applications and services such as semi-autonomous vehicles, augmented reality and IoT.

3. 5G implementation will be very patchy

Deployment will depend on players seeking to leapfrog others; local demand for capabilities not possible on 3G/4G; government intervention; investment; the effectiveness of new technologies at scale; and new business cases involving collaboration of multiple players.

4. Uncertainty

Not all the 5G technologies are proven, especially at scale. Nor is it clear that capabilities such as sub-one-millisecond responses will justify the investment. Areas requiring particular investment are low-latency services, low-power devices and networks, and the ability to support huge numbers of devices.

5. Governments and operators have differing ambitions for 5G

While many governments, especially in Europe, want to get ahead in 5G and digital living, operators are concerned with shareholder returns. This conflict could lead to the creation of private-public partnerships to raise financing.

6. X factor

Competitive technologies could yet wreck the economics. For example, technologies such as LoRA or Weightless-N could emerge as options for low-bandwidth edge computing for IoT, taking a major driver for 5G off the table.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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