You can enable subtitles (captions) in the video player
The rollout of 5G, the fifth generation mobile network that offers more speed, control, and security than older networks is gathering pace. Global sales of 5G phones overtook sales of 4G phones for the first time ever in January of this year.
By the end of 2025, 5G will account for just over a fifth of some 1.8bn total mobile connections. China, alone, will account for nearly half of those connections. But this rollout won't be cheap. It's estimated that between 2021 and 2025 globally, mobile operators will invest $900bn into their networks with 80 per cent of that being spent on 5G.
But while a recent report found that consumers would be willing to pay 20 per cent to 30 per cent more for mobile plans that bundled 5G with digital services, it also said that the majority of potential features that were most appealing to consumers had not yet materialised. They included 3D hologram calling, 5G in-car entertainment, and virtual reality shopping.
The industry has, for a long time, said that 5G and the low latency, or removal of delays it offers, will for the time being principally benefit businesses rather than consumers. Applications include super fast, private 5G networks within companies, which is already allowing components and machines within factories to connect seamlessly, removing the need for cables.
Ericsson has estimated that if these B2B uses are fully realised, they could deliver service providers around $700bn in revenues by 2030. Some 35 per cent on top of their current scope of business. But the reality is that, for now, the widespread use of 5G by businesses has not yet taken off.
The big enterprise 5G boom seems to be forever around the corner with everyday consumers still accounting for the vast majority of 5G use in Western countries. But as the expansion of 5G and who should pay for it is explored, and before it has fully proved its use, the momentum for 6G is building.
Ericsson says, test beds for 6G, which shape the way networks around the world operate, are likely to be ready by 2028. Advocates claim that especially if near-zero latency were achieved, 6G could offer truly remarkable applications, including those whereby people might even be able to smell, feel, and taste things within a digital world. But the question of how to monetize these applications still looms large.