One technology that is going to accelerate growth across several industries in the next decade or two is the fifth generation of technology, also known as 5G technology. From transportation to the banking, gaming, sports and even the public sector, 5G will greatly enhance productivity in ways we have never with previous iterations.
Brief History of the Evolution of 5G
The evolution to 5G by telecom companies has been in the making in the last half a decade as the demand for data by businesses and regular internet users has steadily increased.
But to understand the evolution of 5G technology, we must first understand where it evolved from.
The first generation of mobile technology, 1G, built in the late 1970s and 1980s, was all about voice — the ability to use a phone in a car, while shopping or away from home really took root here.
The second generation, 2G, built in the 1990s, was digital, making it possible to encrypt calls, make more efficient use of the wireless spectrum and deliver data transfers on par with dialup internet.
The third generation, 3G, built in the early noughties, ushered in the evolution of smartphones. The move from 2G to 3G provided the core network speed for these smartphones making regular folks access the internet from anywhere and at any time – albeit at a slow speed – without the need for a computer.
And the fourth generation, 4G, built in the 2010s, gave us high-speed internet connectivity and birthed the era of online services leading to widespread job creation and disruption of conventional means of running businesses.
And now, we have 5G technology. The first country to adopt 5G on a large scale was South Korea, in April 2019. Since then, the growth has been somewhat exponential with more countries (Nigeria is set to adopt 5G technology in the coming months this year) adopting at scale.
What is 5G Technology and Why Should We Be Excited About It?
As with all the latest technology of the 21st century – blockchain, the Internet of Things, Self-Driving Cars, Virtual and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence – the concept behind 5G (ease and convenience) isn’t much difficult to decipher.
5G is the fifth generation of wireless mobile technology with the capacity to deliver faster download speed (as much as 10 times faster than your regular 4G network), much lower latency (capacity to stream 4K high definition videos without a whiff of buffering or slow speed), massive network capacity (support for millions of devices per square kilometre), increased availability and a more uniform user experience to more users.
5G’s connectivity goes beyond just mobile devices. It will essentially be the network that will boost the development of modern technologies like autonomous vehicles, IoTs and Virtual Reality and quickens their adoption. This invariable means, in a nutshell, that 5G is a gamechanger for the future of technology. Even emerging technologies like Metaverse will depend on 5G technology to run smoothly.
5G speed and other connectivity benefits are expected to make businesses more efficient ( and give consumers access to more information faster than ever before.
Global Impact of 5G Technology
According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in 2019, 5G is projected to add about $1.3 trillion to the global economy by 2030 with the healthcare sector contributing about half of that amount.
This is also expected to add 4.6 million jobs within the same period. This is not surprising when you factor in the industries that will be relying on the 5G network.
Already smartphone companies like Samsung, Apple, Tecno, Huawei and even Google have launched devices that support 5G capabilities. Back home, network giant, MTN are also preparing the groundwork to ensure that Nigeria is ripe for 5G technology.
Benefits of 5G Technology on Businesses
It is so easy to see the beneficial effects of 5G, especially for businesses looking to scale. Industries like Healthcare, Entertainment, Agriculture and Transportation are already seeing significant gains from the adoption of 5G connectivity. In the long run, all industries will benefit from the adoption of the 5G network once the technology becomes widely spread as oxygen in the atmosphere.
But the underlying question remains. What are the specific benefits for businesses of all sizes? We highlight the 3 most beneficial effects of 5G technology on businesses below:
Better Customer Experience
Speed is by far the most beneficial effect of 5G for businesses. The current average 4G browsing speed runs at an average of 56 Mbps, 5G would bump that speed up to 490 Mbps (almost 10x the speed of 4G). This makes you download heavy videos or files in an instant ensuring delivery of services to customers at lightning speed.
In meetings, advanced capabilities such as virtual reality, which will be powered by 5G connectivity, could become the norm for presentations. Immersive augmented and virtual reality experiences could show customers and others your new product, enabling them to view it virtually, from any angle.
Or you might leverage your customers’ smart home environment to develop new services and applications that make full use of all the data that surrounds them.
Many of the benefits of adopting 5G technology for your business stems from low latency and high capacity which result in high productivity for your employees.
With a much more reliable network, your employees will spend less time fretting about connectivity and more time focusing on important tasks.
More Opportunities For Your Business
5G opens the door to new business models that you can create and new products and services you can offer. The ability to collect more data, more quickly, and put it to work for your business and your customers is one of the benefits of 5G for businesses of every size—and may even be the genesis for a transformation of your business model.
The 5G technology era is here, introducing the next generation of smart business applications just as organisations plan how to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic world.
The potential for impact across industries is enormous, but to realise these gains, companies will need a strategic approach—one underpinned by a clear view of the use cases that will deliver the greatest value over time.
This is true for both of the key stakeholder groups shaping the future usage of 5G: enterprises and policy-makers.