For some, the promises of 5G as the next generation of telecommunications seem underwhelming. A considerable reduction in latency and larger data capacity, both of which are 5G’s main improvements, are not being immediately perceived by users as the network is being rolled out throughout North America.
Currently, 75% of the US has 5G coverage and Canadian carriers are expected to complete a rollout in some regions by the end of 2021. However, most users don’t really see the difference from the 4.5 LTE network.
There’s two reasons for this. First, despite the fact that 5G opens up the possibility to connect every imaginable device –including self-driving cars, which are expected to communicate among themselves and take over regular cars by 2030–, there are still very few devices that are available for use with 5G. This will take some time, considering that global shipments of 5G smartphones are expected to grow just by 7% in 2021 compared with 2020, according to Ericsson. If phones are picking up slowly, we can expect the same for other devices.
The second reason is that some companies still haven’t leveraged the potential of 5G with a solid value proposition. It is a bit like the early 2000 in that sense, when the Internet went mainstream but people weren’t really sure of how to use it.
The technical traits that 5G offers today are best suited for industries related to any sort of entertainment; from gaming to concerts to live sports. 5G speeds and ultra low latency allow for real-time VR or AR experiences –streaming a concert, for example, and being able to view and hear it with a VR headset is one of the most exciting options.
When it comes to sports, 5G could also be what makes or breaks a virtual experience. 5G-enabled OTT means absolutely no delays when transmitting a match or a competition, a stronger network that supports multiplayer gaming in a fantasy tournament, or a real-time feed that could be directly linked to social media in a mixed reality scenario. The faster the internet becomes, the shorter the attention span of the user –and 5G will be both the challenge and the solution to grasp it.
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