5G use cases may not be compelling enough for massive uptake by businesses

Kathryn Weldon Technology Research Director at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on upcoming challenges to mobile operators:

“While 5G services are not yet ‘live’, this next generation of wireless technology is already top of mind for service providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and other telecom market ecosystem players. Aside from gearing up to build out the technology, they will be working together to make sure that 5G use cases are compelling — that is, different enough from 4G to matter to customers. As with any new generation of wireless, the stakes are high, and operators are hoping that they’ll make back their substantial investments in 5G. For most operators, this should come via a ‘massive’ uptake of connectivity, plus revenues from advanced services spanning both consumers and business customers.

Operators need to move beyond their current barrage of technology build-out narratives and their discussions of fixed vs. mobile services. Rather, it’s the use cases and business outcomes that will make the difference. Operators need to deliver novel and compelling capabilities that change how business customers see and use cellular services.

Enterprises have different requirements from consumers, as 5G communications traffic is expected from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in industrial robots, roads, and vehicles and can leverage the technology’s reliability and low latency to control critical services and infrastructure for public safety, healthcare, government organizations, and utilities. But the ROI for these applications must be compelling.”

Weldon further acknowledges that questions remain, “Will the enterprise appetite to spend more to use these futuristic use cases exist when 5G networks become a reality? Will devices to support these applications be in place once those networks are ready? Will businesses finally see wireless as a valid replacement for wireline broadband? And lastly, will operators be able to offer all these futuristic services profitably? Unfortunately, only time will tell.”