5G killer applications and how to prepare for them
The author of this story Oscar Bexell has 20 years experience from working with all kinds of wireless networks. He is frequently consulted as a lecturer, speaker, writer and strategic advisor in areas such as Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), Wi-Fi, 4G, 5G and the Internet of Things.
There has been a lot of talk about 5G killer applications recently. What we can learn from previous generations of mobile networks is that killer apps come from unexpected directions. 3G killer apps were enabled by Apple. 4G killer apps came from Netflix and Youtube. If you are an MNO planning to roll out a 5G network, you must focus on how to become a relevant partner for whoever brings the next generation of killer apps. This article gives you the tools to become successful.
Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have started to roll out 5G networks in many parts of the world. Marketed 5G business cases and application areas that are supposed to lead to Return of Investment (ROI) for these networks often comprise:
- Faster speed and more data. In other words, more of the mobile broadband you already have today. Marketing activities in this are often about how fast you can download a movie to your phone.
- Ultra-low latency. This is where you find marketing buzz around remote surgery and ability to control machines in a mine. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) applications are often mentioned as well, sometimes along with edge computing.
- (Industrial) Internet of Things use cases. The 5G pitch (over 4G, LoRaWAN and other Low Power Wide Area Network standards) includes the ability to connect very high numbers of devices in a defined area.
- Self-driving cars. A vision that a self-driving car would be controlled remotely rather than using on-boarded video/sensor systems for driverless navigation and vehicle-to-vehicle communication.
- Fixed Wireless Access (FWA). This means that rather than digging down fiber cables all over a country, the last mile access to your home or office could be handled by a 5G radio link.
These five areas have one thing in common: None of them will take off in scale anytime soon and they will therefore not be the short-time cash cow that many MNOs have been hoping for.
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