As the beginning of 2021 approaches, 5G is predicted to reach around 34% of the global population in the next 4 years. How will 5G revolutionize the present scenario of the market? What are my predictions for a 5G-enabled future? What are the risks associated with 5G? Read this article to know what I expect from the 5G-enabled future.

5G networks are part of a major digital transformation trend that is impacting consumer, public sector, and enterprise spaces. New devices and applications are emerging in the market that take advantage of the dramatically reduced latency and much higher throughput that 5G offers. Accelerated adoption of Smart cities, smart factories, next generation in-store experiences, healthcare services. Autonomous cars, and much more. It’s an exciting time…by now you are familiar with the excitement surrounding the 5G revolution. 

A new technological revolution will begin with 5G, creating massive disruptions in perceiving and using tech. Let’s start by looking at what this technology is all about.

5G is no longer technology of the future, but a current reality. Globally markets have already started to switch to 5G, which marks the beginning of a new era. This is the only technology created so far with a huge potential to elevate the use of the Internet of Things (IoT), foster an environment of interconnectivity, and sustain economic growth. 5G will bring along a plethora of benefits, such as increased data speed, lower latency on network response time, and higher reliability. 

According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report released in June 2019, 5G subscriptions will reach 1.9 billion by the end of 2024, making up over 20% of all mobile subscriptions at that time. So, while we’re still quite early in the game, it is not too soon to start thinking about the 5G implications for your business, both positive and negative.

What is 5G?

It is the next generation of mobile networks that will allow us to have higher speed & lower latency. To put it in layman’s terms, we say 5G will allow us to do everything that we currently do, but at a much higher speed. It runs on radio frequencies ranging from below 1 GHz all the way up to very high frequencies, called “millimeter wave” (or mmWave). It runs on radio frequencies ranging from below 1 GHz all the way up to very high frequencies, called “millimeter wave” (or mmWave). 

Imagine a world with smart glasses, VR, and drones co-operating to carry out emergency missions and communicating wirelessly with each other and ground base stations over 5G networks in real-time.

Key characteristics of 5G

a.) Network Densification – Support for Millions of devices / sq Miles. Till today, 4G supported 2000 devices per 0.38 sq miles. On the other hand, 5G will support 1 MILLION users per 0.38 sq miles. This means a better and more affordable internet will be accessible with 5G!

b.) High Speed – upto 10Gbps

c.) Lower data rates & Cost savings – The 5th Generation of the internet will come with a speed of 1Gbps. This would mean a sturdy revolution in the health sector, enabling us to have a bird’s eye view 24/7. 

As we have progressed, you must be thinking we have made the internet cheaper and more accessible throughout the world. 

d.) Low Latency rates – Lower latency would mean less time required for data to travel from one point to another and low chances of experiencing lags. The latency of the network is inversely proportional to the network speed. The 5G revolution will see an entirely new range of applications enabled by low latency factor and the expansion of edge computing – altering the art of the possible. This would benefit many industries, including healthcare, transport, manufacturing, and gaming. 

Heavily reliable low latency is the new currency of the network world and it establishes the for new capabilities in many industries that were previously impossible. 

5G being 10-times faster will give better results and lesser latency. Overall, this generation of wireless is expected to have a 10x decrease in end-to-end latency.

e.) Mobility & Reliability – Better mobility would mean a better network while travelling, data has predicted that we will be able to travel at the speed of 500 Km/hr.
That’s more than reliable for high-speed train travelling. Along with that 5G offers a reliability of 99.999% uptime and ultra-consistent network service. 

The horizon of possibility with 5G

Till now, we have used technology to make our lives easier. You press a button on your screen, and numerous calculations deliver your foods and goods at your doorstep. Wearable technology, to improve the human lifespan, is just the beginning of the technological revolution we are about to witness. There is a high chance the tech will be embedded inside us, with no way of separating the two. 

According to a survey recently released by Gartner, two-thirds of organizations are planning to deploy 5G by 2020. Yet businesses want to embark on the 5G journey faster than communication vendors can provide it. Furthermore, they plan to use 5G networks mainly for IoT communications, with operational efficiency as a critical driver.

5G has the potential to transform industries – we’re talking about the Enterprise of Things that includes networked industrial devices, sensors, networks, and apps that connect businesses. Click here to read how 5G has revolutionized the digital transformation across industries.

Barriers to 5G Adoption

a.) Upfront Investment

b.) Security

c.) User uptick

d.) Change Management

e.) 4G is good enough and this underestimating the 5G Disruption 

How Mobile Network Operators are changing with 5G?

We’re noticing a significant shift in industries and quite interesting partnerships among Mobile network operators (MNO) and hyperscalers such as Microsoft, AWS & Google. MNOs have an edge because they own infrastructures for edge technologies, which will force hyperscalers to partner up with them. There is mounting evidence that suggests that AWS, Microsoft, and Google are moving fast and developing their edge infrastructure.

We should expect big ripples in the tech world in the next decade. 

How are we looking at 5G currently?

With every passing day, we are consuming more data. Ever wondered how much data we create? The answer would be 2.5 quintillion bytes per person per day as of 2020.

With such a mammoth demand in data, existing spectrum bands are becoming congested, leading to service breakdowns, particularly when many people in the same area are simultaneously accessing online mobile services. This has increased our need for a network spectrum that can handle the surge in demand.

Today, at the end of 2020, we have just about 5 to 10% market coverage of the 5G mobile network. Most commercial networks will be of demonstrative purpose for major events, such as the summer Olympics in Tokyo. Research shows that around 45% of carriers globally will have launched a commercial 5G network by 2025.

Unlike previous cellular standards that were solely focused on person-to-person (P2P) communication, 5G will be the first to enable a foundation that is competent at handling both machine-to-machine (M2M) and person-to-person (P2P) communication.

What Will the Future Look Like for 5G?

It is estimated that 1.5 BILLION connections, covering 34% of the global population, will be well established, covering 25% of all mobile data, influencing & creating new markets.

5G will bring a whole new range of products to the market, ranging from a simple 5G-enabled phone to a fridge that orders food from local grocery shops according to how your day is going in traffic. Get ready for that extra scoop of ice cream when you get back home!

Every app and website is moving towards a better user experience to keep us interested and will undergo a redesigning phase. Technologies like VR & AR will get more common in regular use. Companies, like Instagram, that are focusing on redesigning their app, will develop a new dopamine response cycle to keep the users on their platform for longer as the technology will get faster. 

5G Ecosystem

To be successful in 5G world, Partnering and collaboration with MNO and 5G ecosystem players would be of utmost importance as operators sit at the center of new ecosystems developed around the ultra-reliable low latency, real time data at scale and responsiveness that the ‘edge cloud’ delivers.

All hyperscalers are working in establishing the partnership and ecosystem around 5G and Edge computing. Microsoft is leading the bandwagon with couple of acquisitions (e.g., Metaswitch, Affirmed) and broader ecosystem partnerships. 

Risks with 5G

However significant 5G may seem right now, but the industry is still very much at the infant stage. A major downside of 5G adoption is that it puts the entire service provider ecosystem at great risk for cyberattacks. With consumers and businesses becoming steadily reliant on digital services, security shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Securing applications and data across the network, endpoints, data centers, branch locations, and cloud remains the critical challenge. As key enablers of the 5G value chain, mobile network operators are in a position to enable connection and security of the 5G digital economy.

Health risk

There are few potential health risks that we can encounter during the transition to the world of 5G. Various studies back the fact that frequencies with power densities of less than 6 mW/cm2 result in various health issues, the most severe one being DNA damage. Long term exposure low-intensity EHF EMR has severe effect on non-specific immunity                                 indexes Additionally, a Russian study suggests that frequencies in the range of 53-78GHz which 5G proposes noticed a sudden change in heart rate and increase in stress levels among rats.

Cybersecurity Risks

Along with the massive potential of a technological revolution, 5G also introduces the chances of increased cyber security risks. Attackers, with a miniscule knowledge of cellular paging and protocols, will be enforced with the ability to intercept calls and track location leaving our privacy vulnerable.

5G networks are a software-based distribution system, digital routing approach, increasing the number of entry points for someone with ill intentions to intercept the data packets. Along with that the distributive approach makes it difficult to identify & restrict the malicious data.

Current network inspects data packets as they enter, but with the exponential increase in speed and bandwidth of 5G, the current solutions to monitor the network will be obsolete, creating a bigger problem than the solution it provides.

What do I predict for the 5G Future?

How 5G could change Cloud computing

1.) 5G supports a blend of compute, storage and networking at the edge called multi-access edge computing (MEC). To capitalize on the emergence of 5G, cloud providers have expanded their hybrid and edge offerings, partnered with Telco’s, and built or acquired 5G-specific services. AWS Outposts, Google Anthos and Microsoft Azure Stack Hub, Azure Edge Zones are hybrid clod appliances and services that naturally lend themselves to 5G MEC use cases. 

2.) 5G will enable cloud service to reach mobile enterprise customers quickly and reliably. Access to virtual machines via phones will become common because of more extensive computing and machine-to-machine communication provided by 5G. Cloud computing enterprises will offer more features and options to mobile users, and hotspots will become faster, allowing remote workers access to cloud services, even at places where internet connectivity is lacking. 

3.) Cloud providers, software vendors, enterprises and others will use MECs to run applications directly within the edge of a telco network. 5G technology will bring significant improvements to the cloud computing world because most technology innovations can be more efficient when cloud dependent. 5G, in turn, improves that integration with its low latency, enabling smoother communications.

4.) 5G is bringing AI to change your life: As of now, we’ve only witnessed AI working with Chatbots and figuring out miniscule task, but with the power of 5G’s Edge-Cloud and low Latency rates, we will be introduced to some drastic changes across the businesses.    

5.) 5G supports a blend of compute, storage and networking at the edge called multi-access edge computing (MEC). Cloud providers, software vendors, enterprises and others will use MECs to run applications directly within the edge of a telco network. 

6.) With 5G we’ll see an entirely new range of applications enabled by low latency of 5G and the proliferation of edge computing – transforming the art of the possible.  

For example, rather than simply experiencing digital through their traditional devices, consumers will have their experience of the world around them enhanced and augmented through real time data and augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) that it enables through edge computing. 

We will see accelerated adoption of Digital Twins, Self-Monitoring machines, Augmented Audits & inspections, Collaborative robots.

This will allow us to take better data driven decisions and distribute our priorities in a more efficient way.

AI & 5G will bring the “intelligent edge” to life

7.) Private 5G Network

To leverage the full potential of 5G, one of the biggest paradigm shifts would be creation of Private 5G networks – Private Wireless Networks (PWN). PWNs deployed and managed by providers like Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei and larger Telco providers would be quite common in 2021. 

PWNs will increasingly take root in enterprises involving public safety, gaming, airline, entertainment, retail, home care, hospital settings, field service management, utilities and similar industries. PWNs will help in providing new experiences (AI powered, augmented reality, near real time update) and capabilities to that increasingly mobile workforces & consumers an hopefully fill gaps in potentially lifesaving tasks like remote monitoring and healthcare scenarios.


5G is an evolution. 5G Networks and devices continue to evolve. The arrival of 5G technologies will transform how consumers live and how businesses interact with customers. You want to start planning for 5G now, but depending on your application, you may deploy 5G devices as early as 2021. The 5th Generation of networking will revolutionize how we live and function in this world, and we are right in the middle of it.

2021 promises to be a year of exciting change. While a crystal ball would come in handy in such situations to predict the future, we can be sure that change will come at an increasing pace, enabling new technologies to emerge. Having an insight into the innovations on the digital horizon will aid your organization with planning and staying ahead of the competition.  What are your expectations for your organization from the 5G-enabled future?