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.
451 Research - The Coming Revolution: 5G and its Impact on IT - recommends that any supplier that is touched by the mobile Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud services, consumer electronics or automation needs to assess the coming impact of 5G.
“IT players need to think about IoT now and 5G soon,” says Ken Rehbehn, Principal Analyst of Mobile Telecom, 451 Research.
“Whether it is real-time analytics, datacenter design, location-based Web services, or social networks and digital currencies, 5G will affect demand patterns as early as 2018.
In looking ahead, Rehbehn believes that 5G is not just another G, instead it will “trigger a wave of innovation” to make information and computing power instantaneously available.
“5G innovations will spread far and wide,” Rehbehn claims.
“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.”
When the time does come however, Rehbehn believes that 5G implementation will be “very patchy” with deployment depending 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 collabouration of multiple players.
“Uncertainty,” Rehbehn adds, “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.”
Perhaps crucially however, Rehbehn believes that with the technology fast approaching, 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,” Rehbehn adds.
“This conflict could lead to the creation of private-public partnerships to raise financing.”
Citing an X factor style appeal, Rehbehn believe 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.