Is 5G still waiting for a “killer app”? When will 5G become mainstream, or is it already? New research sheds some light on global 5G technology trends and provides the latest perspective from nearly 200 stakeholders from North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific who are directly involved in the development, implementation, or adoption of 5G technologies at leading telecommunications companies.
The new 2022 5G Technology Trends Survey comes from Jabil and SIS Intl. Research. The study suggests there’s a steady upward trend in 5G adoption and deployments. It also outlines challenges that persist for 5G adoption and deployment in both the tech and business realms. Key findings include the fact that 65% of respondents expect 5G to dramatically transform telecommunications, which is up from 49% in Jabil’s last 5G survey, which was taken in 2018. Fewer people consider the advances 5G offers over 4G to be “incremental” compared to 2018 (34% versus 51%).
As for the question of how soon 5G will become mainstream, 14% of Jabil’s respondents believe it already is mainstream. More than half of respondents (64%), though, believe 5G will become mainstream in the next 1-3 years, while 19% expect it to take 3-5 more years and 4% expect it will take five or more years before 5G becomes mainstream. Most stakeholders involved in the survey (59%) strongly agree 5G will benefit telecommunication companies by creating new opportunities. Similarly, 53% said the transition to 5G will open the door for new business models. Could a killer app be the ticket to creating these anticipated new business models?
Fewer than half of respondents strongly agreed with the idea that a killer app will be the thing that drives 5G to its true potential. However, most respondents (58%) did say they anticipate the next killer app for 5G to benefit business applications most. Just 20% said they expect the next killer app to be consumer facing. A vast majority of stakeholders (87%) say business applications will adopt 5G solutions first, followed by enterprise applications, personal applications, and healthcare applications. The top five industries respondents say will benefit from 5G are financial services, transportation, healthcare, defense and aerospace, and energy and utilities.
Business model challenges top the list of difficult problems organizations are trying to solve, according to the Jabil/SIS survey, followed by operational challenges, technology challenges, supply chain challenges, and user/customer challenges. Meanwhile, among those organizations that are developing or implementing 5G networks, the top business challenge is creating subscription models for 5G—although this percentage (31%) is much lower than it was in the 2018 survey (50%). Other key business challenges include governmental regulations and over-the-top providers capturing marketshare. Unsurprisingly, the most cited technology challenge for 5G in the study is spectrum availability (32%), although it’s worth noting that an even higher percentage of respondents (34%) say they don’t have any technology challenges with 5G networks at all. In general, since the last Jabil/SIS survey in 2018, the percentages of stakeholders experiencing 5G challenges has decreased, suggesting the path to 5G is becoming more straightforward. If the majority of these stakeholders are correct, mainstream 5G is just a year or two or three away.
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