All things 5G are on the rise, it seems, and as 5G becomes more commercially available to consumers and enterprises, there will be many ripple effects. New data from Allied Market Research suggests the global small cell 5G network market will generate $19.62 billion by 2030, up from $858 million in 2020. 5G will impact the IoT (Internet of Things) by making it easier to network a ton of endpoints together. Fast speeds and low latency will also create new IoT opportunities and spur IoT innovation across a range of industries.

ResearchandMarkets puts the 5G in IoT market at $272.4 billion globally by 2026. The research firm also predicts by 2026, 5G and IoT-enabled smart machines will represent a $2.9 billion global opportunity. Put simply, 5G, especially in conjunction with MEC (mobile edge computing) will be a game changer for the IoT, which encompasses all kinds of smart devices used to detect, actuate, signal, and engage.

Some big news in the space was AT&T and Cisco’s launch of 5G network capabilities for IoT applications in the U.S. The fast speeds and low latency that AT&T’s sub-6GHz 5G network provides will offer enterprise customers with 5G-capable IoT devices a better-quality experience when accomplishing tasks such as downloading and streaming, updating, and more. Enterprises in the manufacturing, utilities, transportation, retail, healthcare, and public safety industries, as well as the public sector will be able to take advantage of higher bandwidth and lower latency, opening the door to all kinds of applications—from autonomous vehicles to smart factories and beyond.

Cisco’s technology powers the AT&T Control Center, which gives businesses near-realtime visibility of the IoT devices on their network and helps mitigate security risks. The companies say the launch is an important step toward “IoT massive connectivity” that will eventually make it possible for enterprises to access the full potential of the IoT.

In other 5G news, mobile communications company Ligado Networks is advancing its plan to deploy the first 5G mobile satellite network for the IoT. As businesses make moves to digitize and prepare for a digital economy, Ligado is positioning itself for success by supporting the infrastructure necessary for this digital era. The company recently announced its partnership with Mavenir, a cloud-native network software provider, to develop base stations for advanced connectivity services that will enable business-critical operations across North America.

Ligado’s satellite network will add extended coverage and network redundancy to its planned 5G mobile private network solution. The goal is to enable always-on connectivity and coverage across an enterprise’s entire footprint. CEO Doug Smith says the 5G satellite IoT network is “pivotal” for businesses that need ubiquitous network coverage and reliability to enable critical device communications. The 5G satellite IoT network will support millions of devices that are powering enterprise IoT. Ligado plans to launch service trials in 2022.

On a side note, the industry rumor mill suggests consumer devices may also benefit from satellite connectivity. iPhone 13 is reportedly going to include the hardware necessary to connect to LEO (low earth orbit) satellites. The benefits to consumers will be the same as they are for businesses relying on enterprise IoT—ubiquitous connectivity, even outside of 4G and 5G coverage areas.

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