Dan Bieler, Principal Analyst

Show Notes:

5G is different from past cellular standards in several ways. In terms of performance, 5G provides a significant improvement from its predecessor. But the rollout plan is more gradual and region-specific than past standards (particularly in Europe). And of course, moving to the new standard carries a significant cost.

So how do you know if leveraging 5G is the right investment for your business?

In this episode of What It Means, we discuss the benefits and drawbacks of 5G with Principal Analyst Dan Bieler, who is tracking the 5G rollout, particularly in Europe. Bieler says companies must carefully consider their use cases before going all in on 5G to ensure that it will produce the desired return. 5G is not an urgent requirement for most companies and industries that have various network options available to them today.

The increased capacity and lower latency of 5G is most appealing to industries that have a high density of connected devices (think of a large factory or other highly automated campus). In some cases, individual firms will be able to set up a private 5G network and enjoy much more control of that network than if they were using the public network. But it comes with a cost.

Another factor to consider is the skill sets needed to leverage the increased network capacity of 5G. Many adopters will need to provide training to their staff to gain the benefits, which brings more process and cost. “The complexity of skills involved in rolling out 5G solutions is much broader than we had seen in previous cellular technologies,” says Bieler.

Each firm needs to decide if 5G will provide them enough of a competitive advantage to warrant the costs. And in some cases, the decision may be more focused on if they can afford not to make the move if their closest competitors do.