It will have a deeply profound impact on the way enterprises operate, driving economic growth, but operators and governments must ensure 5G is rolled out fairly and effectively
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5G is set to be a hugely transformative technology, fuelling far more innovation than the transition from 3G to 4G. This is not just because of faster data speeds and better latency, though consumers will always be a key driver, but rather the opportunities it will provide enterprises to optimise their business processes at large. From transportation and utilities to manufacturing and even mining, every industry stands to benefit.
The technology is also vital to delivering sustainability goals globally. Data consumption on networks is rising by up 45 per cent annually. Nokia is also seeing unprecedented growth in latency-sensitive applications during business hours, including a 400 per cent increase in gaming. Keeping up with this on 4G would require far more spectrum and energy per gigabit to transport the data.
As 5G is far more efficient, using spectrum in a more efficient way, the same amount of data consumption consumes far less energy on a 5G network. By consuming less energy, 5G contributes to global sustainability goals.
“This is why governments as well as operators are pushing hard on 5G rollout,” says Jan van Tetering, senior vice president, Europe, at Nokia, which has more than 1,300 industrial enterprise customers, including around 130 private wireless deployments, while seeing growing demand for private 5G trials or collaboration.
“When we moved from 3G to 4G, it took 28 months between the first of the top-four US operators launching it and the last. With 5G, it took two months. 5G applications for enterprises will have a major impact on how societies operate. In the past, networks were a handy tool. In the future, everything we do will be built on the network, making it a necessity for our day-to-day operations.
“With 5G, building the ecosystem around enterprises is far more important than it ever was with 4G, as it will help drive businesses and societies forward at unprecedented speed. It is the role of the telecoms industry to make businesses and industry aware of these capabilities. Collaboration is vital, bringing together different views and knowledge. We are working with industry associations to discuss what 5G can bring to them and with other players to push different use-cases forward.”
Governments are racing to take a lead in 5G. Though Europe is lagging behind the global leaders, America, China, Korea and Japan, it is still a top priority and major advances are being made throughout Europe. While the telecoms industry educates, evangelises and proves the capabilities of 5G, one of the most important responsibilities of government is making sure people are not left behind as 5G becomes the layer on which societies and economies are built.
The rollout of major new technology typically starts in dense urban areas. It can then be easy for more rural areas to be overlooked because the business case is less attractive, as was the case with both 3G, 4G and fibre. 5G’s influence will be so large that it is imperative for governments to prevent a digital divide from emerging in the access that people have to powerful technology.
5G’s influence will be so large that it is imperative for governments to prevent a digital divide from emerging in the access that people have to powerful technology
Particularly in the post-COVID era, it will be hugely damaging to the goal of achieving economic parity across the country if certain areas have much better infrastructure and tools for home working and collaboration. Governments must therefore introduce programmes that stimulate operators to deploy 5G in less lucrative areas. This is vital as 5G pushes networks to a level beyond entertainment and communications, supporting life-critical, mission-critical applications such as in healthcare, power stations and self-driving cars.
“Trust is an extremely important aspect,” says van Tetering. “To ensure this data is secure and not compromised on its way through the network, the end-to-end security of the network, next to the end-to-end connectivity, is crucial. Who are we trusting to build this end-to-end mission-critical network? It needs to be up and running all the time.”
For more information please visit nokia.com/networks/5g