Expected to be deployed commercially in 2020, what can the world expect from 5G technology in 2019? Source: Josep LAGO / AFP

Expected to be deployed commercially in 2020, what can the world expect from 5G technology in 2019? Source: Josep LAGO / AFP

What can we expect from 5G in 2019?

LAST year has been fruitful for the development of 5G and has brought us a step closer to unprecedented speeds and more robust connections for devices.

After numerous tests in 2017, more advanced stage trials and early commercial deployments of the technology emerged last year — we’re closer to 5G deployment than ever before.

The world got a glimpse of what the next generation of cellular networks is capable of during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics when the host nation South Korea showcased its progress in 5G technology.

While some network providers are already planning to roll out their commercial 5G deployment at some point in 2019, most experts predict that 5G will only be a reality in 2020.

But beyond that, what can we expect from 5G in 2019?

A driver of innovation and DX

5G technology is not merely just a fast internet connection and reduced latency, but the technology is expected to be a key enabler of other technologies that will revolutionize the world all over again.

According to IDC, 5G connectivity will be a significant driver of the next phase of enterprises’ digital transformation journey, with more than 70 percent of all 5G connections stemming from business use cases by 2024.

The connection speed in the 5G era could easily reach 1Gbps for a much lower cost per gigabyte, and with cellular technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 will be taking off, opening the floodgates for the IoT technology application in utility management, smart cities, logistics, agriculture, manufacturing, and wearables.

One report foresees that cellular IoT connections will reach 4.1 billion by 2024, which translates to an annual growth rate of 27 percent. It also suggests that a whole lot of future technology devices, such as sophisticated sensors, as well as 5G enabld smartphones will emerge in the market.

The proliferation of these devices will fuel an unprecedented expansion of big data, cloud storage, data analytics, security, and much more.

A more secure networks

As 5G is expected to be fundamentally driven by the enterprise use cases, security — not only within the network but also end-to-end solutions — will become one of the top priorities.

And accordingly, by 2020, IDC is expecting companies to adopt managed security services that integrate analytics, machine learning and AI, and automation to better predict and respond to network security threats and attacks.

Increased investments

There are already more than 8.4 billion connected devices, and the number is growing at a rapid pace. The anticipation of 5G will easily increase fundings and investments in developing the network infrastructure itself, as well as more sensors to enable smart cities, autonomous cars, and next-generation medical devices. 

In one report, IHS Markit said that the 5G value chain will invest an average of US$200 billion annually to further expand and bolster the 5G technology base within the network and business application infrastructure.

China, emerging as a leader in the development of this technology, is already funneling more funds to fuel the growth of 5G within the country.

In a nutshell, while mass scale deployment of 5G is only seen in 2020, 2019 is still going to be a pivotal year towards making all the promises of 5G technology a reality, and ultimately disrupt and change the trajectory of the world’s journey to digital maturity.