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The 5G tipping point

Ahead of what will likely be a big year for the standard,
Barry Mansfield reports on how wide-scale deployment of 5G communication networks is delivering value across the industrial sector.

5G adoption is expected to take off in a big way in 2023. In late January, Vodafone made its long-awaited 5G Standalone (SA) technology available to trial customers across the UK. But enterprise users are also keen to explore the prospect of ultrafast connectivity for localised environments, in office buildings, factories, warehouses, hospitals and transport. Forty-five per cent of UK businesses are planning to make investments in 5G by the end of the year.

A great promise of 5G is the ultra-low latency enabled by mmWave (a theoretical 1ms and under, compared to 20-30ms with 4G), which can provide businesses with near-time data from sensor-equipped devices to boost productivity and reduce costs. With that in mind, a welcome breakthrough came with Qualcomm’s completion of 3GPP Release (Rel) 17 last March, which addressed earlier range and stability issues, thereby supporting new deployment scenarios.

A survey carried out by Nokia shows a high level of confidence in the potential of 5G to deliver enterprise cybersecurity, cost, efficiency and sustainability goals. Nokia also found that over 50 per cent of 5G adopters had already seen total cost of ownership (TCO) reductions of 6 per cent or more from their investments, with 29 per cent experiencing a more than 10 per cent reduction. Eighty per cent expect to achieve a return on investment (ROI) within six months.

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