By spurring innovation and creating a new wave of opportunities, 5G will bring socio-economic growth to nations in every corner of the globe. It will enable a connected, digital society and act as a core foundation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, building on the scale of billions of connected devices and a global system of vendors.
Like previous generations of mobile technology, 5G could have numerous different impacts on people’s daily lives, irrespective of where they live, though not all of these benefits may be reflected in GDP. Depending on the different use cases and verticals, additional potential advantages could include increased access and availability to more advanced healthcare and education; reduced pollution, increased efficiency in transportation; and enhanced capabilities to respond to issues of public safety.
As new 5G-enabled services and applications are realized, new jobs will be created and talent upskilled and reskilled. These developments will help us establish and foster a cleaner, safer and more sustainable society for current and future generations. In fact, no person, no industry and no country, would be left untouched by the benefits of a 5G future.
5G Will Revolutionise Industries
While earlier generations of wireless pertained primarily to mobile operators, almost every sector stands to benefit from 5G, from manufacturing to energy and transport. It is a system developed not only to support massive growth in mobile broadband use, but also, for the first time, to support broader uses cases requiring secure and reliable connectivity. It will, therefore, drive the digitalization of all industries.
The characteristics of 5G make it a stimulant for efficiency in existing businesses as well as a platform for further innovation.
We see that India is focused on a digital agenda to transform the country, connecting its remotest corners so people can reap the benefits of digital inclusion. There is also a lot of emphasis on positioning the country as a global hub for the manufacturing, as part of the government’s Make in India campaign.
Technologies such as 5G and the Internet of Things can play a critical role in enhancing and enabling advances in this sector. They will provide much-needed gains in efficiency and profitability but, at the same time, will be the foundation to create new processes and innovations.
However, for India to emerge as a manufacturing hub of global scale, a collaborative effort is required to build a secure and scalable national 5G infrastructure. India currently has a strong 4G footprint and it would be straightforward to build on this base and launch 5G, as other markets have. Active and continuous 5G trials and testbeds should be deployed to foster an environment of innovation and rapid adoption.
As the technology proliferates, early movers will stand to benefit by gaining the right experience and creating new use cases.
The Leap Towards 5G
The first 5G networks have already gone live in several markets around the world including the US, Asia, Australia and Europe. As expected, the first applications of 5G in these markets have been enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) which are targeted at consumers like us.
Having said that, to fully realise the potential of 5G the global community must come together to remove regulatory and policy barriers and modernize the network infrastructure. Governments need to collaborate with 5G network providers to encourage infrastructure investment and achieve larger long-term objectives.
For example, 5G is a spectrum-intensive technology – it needs big blocks of spectrum to be auctioned at prices that are reasonable. A long-term approach to policy-making and spectrum allocation is required so that investments in 5G networks are encouraged and incentivized.
For 5G to become a reality and for its benefits reach the many, governments and regulators across markets including in India must look at it as national infrastructure. In this way, it has the potential to be the basis on which digital visions of various nations are realised.