With so much potential to offer, the technology requires providers to think with the same low latency and high bandwidth.

What will 5G bring in the immediate future?

With ultra-low latency, new services that were simply not possible before will emerge. These include autonomous vehicles (AVs), mixed reality (MR) and factory automation. These devices, fulfilling their potential on the networks supporting them, could transform the way we live, play, interact and work.

Mixed Reality (MR) is an emerging term for glasses and other devices that place fully interactive digital objects in the user’s environment.

In their first incarnation, these devices were fairly simply, using things like text labels and hyperlinks, walking directions, and reminders in the corner of the lens.

Add in the high speed and ultra-low latency of 5G, and suddenly the possibilities explode. Instead of just a text label, there could be fully interactive animations. In place of static hyperlinks, there could be fully immersive digital experiences mixed in with the real world.

Now, imagine such applications in a business setting. With MR, diagnostics and repairs can be done without having someone physically on site. A pair of smart glasses could indicate where the fault lies and how a new part should be installed. There are now smart glasses that give people a way to capture photos and video, listen to music and take phone calls. Facebook is already conducting research with Project Aria, involving an augmented reality (AR) glasses.

Autonomous vehicles willthrive on ultra-low latency 5G networks and are set to revolutionise the way people commute and goods are transported. This can relieve the current problems of growing urban mobility challenges like land and manpower constraints; an ageing population; and rising expectations for better public transport.

In Singapore, there are already numerous AV trials to pave the way for safer roads, fewer accidents, reduced traffic congestion and optimal use of road space. More jobs in the field will also be created due to the need for fleet controllers and engineers.

Finally, factory automation will also benefit from 5G continually, facilitating the use of smart robots, IoT, and drones.

Service providers need to keep up

All the three arenas benefiting from 5G will place greater emphasis on the shifting role of the service providers in the future.

The rise of 5G will have an impact on the needs of not only customers, but also businesses. Customers will expect more of their service providers, and the latter will need to adapt accordingly:

  • In the era of 5G, older pricing models based on the amount of data consumed on the network will just not work anymore. The ‘network as a service’ must reflect the agility and temporal nature of the services themselves, following customer expectations.
  • Networks should be modular to support the immediate needs of the users and devices they support, and should be priced accordingly.
  • Network-on-demand may be dedicated to services with common characteristics, meaning providing optimal conditions as needed for services like mixed or augmented reality, AVs and automated factories, content viewing, messaging, and anything else involving connectivity. These networks-on-demand will also include personalization and be pricing specific to the services rendered. 
  • A new ecosystem of wholesale companies will bundle these capabilities and service guarantees into their products. Emerging models will suit modern Business-to-Consumer (B2C) markets, but also Business-to-Business-to-Consumer (B2B2C), packaging wholesale services tailored to enterprises, who in turn can manage a business for customers, harnessing the best features of the network.

In the future, businesses will monetize new services in many ways, with customers adhering to a pay-as-you-use model. Service agility and pricing agility will drive the marketplace as 5G (and future iterations of the technology) empowers the service providers of the future.

All this on-demand high-speed connectivity will drive the adoption of new habits in future generations. Get ready for a world that will be more connected, impulsive, and tailored than ever.