5G is the next evolution in mobile networks. Its faster than previous ‘G’s, and set to open up lots of new use cases for mobile data – and therefore new business opportunities.
What is 5G?
Unlike in previous generations (such as 4G and LTE), there’s no single type of technology that is synonymous with a 5G network. Rather, 5G will be a constantly developing network of networks encompassing a far broader array of devices than merely mobile phones, i.e. the Internet of Things.
5G’s Bottomline Features
- 1. Faster Speeds: 5G will be much faster than previous generation networks – speeds as fast as 10Gb/s. This would mean the ability to download a full HD movie in under 10 seconds on a 5G network, compared to 10 minutes on 4G. Some estimates see 5G being even faster than that.
- 2. Greater Capacity: the networks will be able to cope better with many high-demand applications all at once – from connected cars and IoT devices to virtual reality experiences and simultaneous HD video streaming.
- 3. Lower Latency: With 4G networks, latency is typically around 40-50 milliseconds. With 5G it should be 1-5 milliseconds or less, which is undetectable to the user.
- 4. Reliability: 5G is expected to be ‘ultra-reliable’, meaning no dropped calls or connectivity, which will allow more ‘critical’ use cases such as those related to digital health and connected cars.
- 5. Flexibility: 5G networks promise to be more flexible — network slicing allows a physical network to be divided into multiple virtual networks so the operator can use the right ‘slice’ depending on the requirements of the use case.
The Business Case for 5G
A report from PSB Research, which surveyed over 3,500 people including business decision leaders, analysts and tech enthusiasts, found that as a result of 5G:
- 91% expect new products and services that have yet to be invented
- 89% expect increased productivity
- 87% expect new industries to emerge
- 85% expect it to make companies more globally competitive
- 82% expect small business growth and more global competition
5G Bottomline benefit to businesses
- 1. Productivity – A key benefit of leveraging 5G will be helping businesses work more quickly and more efficiently – in turn, saving costs and increasing revenue.
- 2. Remote working – 5G will finally remove any existing barriers to home working. AR, VR and seamless connectivity could make remote meetings feel as if you’re in the same room finally. With 5G, businesses will have constant unbroken access to a fast, reliable internet connection. Many countries, including the UK, are looking to 5G to better connect rural communities, allowing more people to start businesses from home and opening up opportunities.
This is key, as data from Ofcom finds that geographically, only 63% of the UK has mobile data coverage from all of the four main providers. 5G RuralFirst, a UK Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) project between the private sector, government and academia, is exploring rural business opportunities enabled by 5G, such as agriculture, broadcasting, and utilities.
- 3. AR/VR – The augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications that 5G is expected to support, could have significant applications in various industries – particularly retail, property, entertainment, gaming, manufacturing and tourism.
- 4. Tailored networks – With network slicing, it will be possible for a business to practically own their own private 5G network, precisely set up according to its specific business needs. 5G will certainly have much greater capacity across a much wider range of spectrums, but it will also use that space more intelligently, assigning only the resources necessary for each application.
- 5. Lower costs – The shift from a hardware to a software-based network environment will bring about lower overheads for mobile operators. Those savings will in turn be able to be passed on to business customers.
- 6. Flexible office spaces – These ‘smart buildings’ will be able to employ small radio sensors to monitor occupancy, lighting and temperature. CCTV footage of those office spaces can be streamed live to mobile devices. All in all, this will help provide more flexible, efficient, secure and ultimately cheaper work spaces for small businesses to operate in.
- 7. Easier commutes – Smart and automated transport, finally enabled by a stable and fast mobile network, will ensure that there’s significantly less time wasted commuting. Even while using this more efficient transportation, speedy mobile connectivity on public transport will enable employees to work more effectively during commutes and other out-of-office travel.
5G deployment will be a gradual process and it will exist alongside and in tandem with LTE-A 4G, low power wide area network (LPWAN) and other technologies. So any new IT project should ensure systems are forward-compatible and can transition to 5G as it becomes available.
With that in mind, you may want to transfer any systems or services at the heart of your business into the cloud ahead of 5G’s arrival. The next-generation mobile network will utilise a high degree of virtualisation, so any business – no matter how small – that reduces its reliance on local mainframes will have an instant ease of adoption.
It might be helpful to appoint an internal person or team who will ‘own’ 5G in your organisation and take the lead in plotting your 5G roadmap. 5G will impact every part of the business and must be considered from every angle. What new products and services might 5G open up for your business? Start planning now to get first-mover advantages. Will you be able to free up office space? Look at when building leases are due to expire and consider not renewing those where 5G is likely to be available and remote working a possibility.
Get ready for a new relationship with your telecoms providers. Will your current provider be in a position to deliver 5G to your area or should you start preparing to work with new ones? Your telecoms provider will play a much more important role for businesses in future and they must pivot from being commodity suppliers to working with businesses to understand and meet their needs. Consider which telecoms provider might best meet your needs and reach out to start the collaborative process that will be needed to develop useful 5G services for your business. Wherever you’re located in the country, be realistic about when 5G might be commercially available and plan accordingly.
Starting to plan for 5G now will reap rewards when 5G becomes a reality. We’ll continue to track developments in the market and give you the information you need to understand and exploit 5G to maximise the potential of your business.
5G is coming in 2019. What difference could it make to your business? And what difference could it make to your competitors if they leverage it and you don’t? Early adopters will have a window of opportunity to take advantage in whatever markets they operate.
Contact Everything Voice
To find out more about 5G and to make sure your business is 5G ready – contact the Everything Voice Mobile Team today. Call us on 0330 055 3570, emailing us or Tweet us