Two-thirds (66%) of organisations intend to deploy 5G by 2020, with operational efficiency being the key driver, according to new research by Gartner.
The research and advisory firm found that businesses expect the next generation of mobile networks to be primarily used for Internet of Things (IoT) communications, cited by 59%, and video, which was chosen by 53% of respondents.
“The figure for IoT communications is surprising, given that other proven and cost-effective alternatives, such as Narrowband IoT over 4G and low-power wide-area solutions, already exist for wireless IoT connectivity,” commented Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner.
“However, 5G is uniquely positioned to deliver a high density of connected endpoints – up to 1 million sensors per square kilometre.”
The use cases for video will be varied, Fabre added: “From video analytics to collaboration, 5G’s speed and low latency will be well suited to supporting 4K and 8K HD video content.”
However, Fabre also noted that the plans for 5G public networks vary significantly in timing and scope. Communications service providers (CSPs) will initially focus on consumer broadband services, possibly delaying investments in edge computing and core network slicing which are more relevant and valuable to 5G projects for businesses.
“In the short to medium term, organisations wanting to leverage 5G for use cases such as IoT communications, video, control and automation, fixed wireless access and high-performance edge analytics cannot fully rely on 5G public infrastructure for delivery,” he warned.
To meet the demands of businesses, Gartner advised technology product managers planning 5G infrastructure solutions to focus on 5G networks that offer not only 5G radio but also core slicing and edge computing infrastructure and services for private networks.
“Private networks for enterprises will be the most direct option for businesses that want to benefit from 5G capabilities early on,” Fabre explained. “These networks may be offered not only by CSPs but also directly by infrastructure vendors – and not just by the traditional large vendors of infrastructure, but also by suppliers with cloud and software backgrounds.”
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