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5G: The business story

Tue 27 Aug 2019 | Alex Gledhill

5G Innovators Initiative

When it comes to business, one thing is for certain — 5G is about much, much more than faster smartphones

5G is set to improve the smartphone experience, making it faster, smoother and more reliable with its high speeds and huge data capacity combined with low latency. However, 5G isn’t just about faster smartphones. Heralding a massive technological step up from 4G, 5G will have a far bigger impact for businesses than previous cellular network transitions.

From a business perspective, 5G will be hugely transformative, with the 5G value chain reaching an impressive $2.5 trillion by 2035, according to ABI Research. Next-generation connectivity will give organisations improved abilities to connect smart technology and pull together disparate data that can provide them with better insights and new opportunities.

5G networks will help organisations transform their daily businesses in three key ways. Firstly, they will help to improve the customer experience thanks to game-changing services with high reliability with ultra-low latency and personalised content delivered at high speeds.

Secondly, 5G will help organisations to disrupt markets by enabling completely new business models and revenue streams. In a similar way, cab-hailing app Uber capitalised on the improved data speeds of 4G enabled services that would not have been possible before.

Along with much faster data speeds for smartphones and other devices, 5G will unlock the full power of IoT (Internet of Things) technology with its massive data capacity that enables billions of new connected devices. In short, your biggest rival may be someone you’ve never heard of. Along with launching entirely new types of products and services with better scalability, 5G will enable real-time customer data and insights, as well as accelerating time to market.

Thirdly, 5G networks will help businesses to transform their operations, whether that’s enhancing productivity with smart technologies, streamlining costs with automation and machine learning or identifying new opportunities using Artificial Intelligence.


Influencing businesses of all sizes, from smaller startups to larger enterprises, 5G will help to transform a wide range of industries including everything from retail, entertainment and transport to manufacturing, agriculture and healthcare. In healthcare alone, 5G could help to produce a cost saving of $700 billion by 2025, according to U.S. telecoms firm CTIA.

“Smart bus services are already starting to offer dynamic routes that shift to match demand”

Use cases that require large amounts of data as well as ultra-reliable connectivity with low latency will certainly feel the benefit of 5G compared to 4G. For example, smooth 8K video streaming with no buffering will be made possible thanks to the low latency of new 5G networks. Leading technology companies are working with vertical industries that are leading the 5G implementations that will revolutionize their businesses, adding connectivity where it never existed before.

Work smart

While entire industries will be transformed by a new era of connectivity, 5G-powered smart cities will change the way we work day-to-day. Smart buildings increase efficiency while reducing costs for employers, as well as providing a more comfortable and productive working environment.

IoT sensors can be used to track which spaces are used most, turn off equipment that isn’t being used and monitor the working environment for temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, ambient light and noise. All this can help building management to optimise ventilation to ensure more pleasant working environment and also help businesses to reach sustainability goals.

5G could also revolutionise the daily commute by aiding the development of new and more efficient forms of public transport. For example, smart bus services are already starting to offer dynamic routes that shift to match demand. 5G could give them a further boost, making it much easier to travel around for work.

5G will power the connected infrastructure that will be essential to the success of autonomous vehicles. Its ultra-low latency will enable quick decisions based on real-time data that will enable autonomous cars to travel around safely. A new era of connectivity will also support remote working, enabling employees to work on collaborative projects with colleagues in separate locations with smooth and reliable communication.

The high speeds, massive data capacity and low latency offered by 5G will power the increasingly data-driven urban ecosystem, ultimately changing the way we work. 5G will also push the boundaries of digital transformation even further, no matter what size of organisation is involved. When it comes to business, one thing is for certain — 5G is about much, much more than faster smartphones.

Experts featured:

Alex Gledhill

Global Account Director - Vodafone


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