The rapid adoption of 5G in the past three years marks a significant milestone, making it the fastest-adopted cellular generation to date. However, a report commissioned by InterDigital and conducted by ABI Research warns that 5G has yet to fully realise its potential in unlocking new business opportunities.
The report outlines that while the foundational development of 5G has enhanced network capacity, speed, and latency, mobile operators have struggled to tap into the enterprise market. The focus of the past four years (2018-2022) has been on the foundational development of 5G, laying the groundwork for the new cellular generation.
The report highlights the upcoming transformational phase of 5G, known as 5G-Advanced, set to occur between 2023 and 2026. It identifies key features that will enhance existing 5G technology, opening the door to innovative enterprise use cases and business models.
5G-Advanced features include:
- Extended Reality (XR): Enabling better identification of diverse applications and content, catering to specific latency and bandwidth requirements for XR applications like AR and VR.
- Sidelink Positioning: Facilitating direct communication between devices, enhancing precision and efficiency for tasks such as robotics, AGV control, and drone oversight.
- RedCap (Reduced Capacity): Broadening 5G’s reach to power-limited devices, catering to smartwatches, AR/VR equipment, surveillance cameras, and various IoT devices.
- Passive or Ambient IoT: Connecting sensors and devices to cellular networks without a power source, potentially increasing the number of cellular IoT devices and appealing to various enterprise verticals.
The report emphasises the importance of understanding and embracing the long tail of enterprise requirements and pain points for successful deployment in the enterprise domain.
Despite introducing new functionality, the report cautions against a “build it and they will come” philosophy—stressing the need for operators to comprehend and effectively market these capabilities to enterprise verticals.
In addition to unlocking enterprise opportunities, 5G-Advanced is positioned to play a crucial role in monetising 5G, improving energy efficiency, and integrating automation into 5G networks. The report concludes that operators need to capitalise on these capabilities to drive new applications and use cases, aligning with the ambitions set out in IMT-2020.
A copy of the report can be found here (registration required)
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