Making 5G Real

How can companies translate 5G’s enormity into reality?

What is the state of 5G?

5G is officially here. Expect record speeds, robust capacity and unrelenting reliability to catalyze new service offerings, transform customer experiences and enhance enterprise operations. From revolutionary experiences to transformational automation the next generation of wireless technology will indeed change the world.

5G coverage expands despite COVID-19 impacts

But 5G won’t reach scale for years to come. According to our US Mobile Index that tracks the trajectory of 5G, as of July 2020, coverage continues to make gains, reaching 60%. By January 2021, almost 75% of the US population will have 5G coverage available at home or work, though the type of coverage is not always consistent. Meanwhile, device penetration is all but stalled. Fewer than 4% of mobile devices to be in use by January 2021 will be 5G enabled.

Our industry specialists expect 5G to hit a tipping point in 2023. That’s because carriers and device manufacturers face monumental supply chain and deployment challenges as they work to make 5G real, exacerbated by COVID-19.

What’s the hold up to adoption?

Building a 5G network is different from 4G because of the inherent specifications of the technology. It requires a higher density network that has regulatory, cost and operational challenges. What other challenges exist for the Telecom industry?

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Why it matters

As the 4th Industrial Revolution comes of age, enterprise users of 5G are beginning to question what 5G means for their business. The answer varies -- for some companies, very little, for others, a whole lot. Companies who are taking a customer-led, experience-driven approach to business transformation may find the challenges they face today and the innovation they aspire toward for tomorrow do not depend on 5G, which is a good thing. Because one thing is certain, the tipping point for 5G is a ways out. What are the implications for enterprise?

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Mark McCaffrey

Mark McCaffrey

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader, PwC US

Dan  Hays

Dan Hays

US Technology, Media and Telecommunications Corporate Strategy Leader, PwC's Strategy&, PwC US

Rob Mesirow

Rob Mesirow

PwC Connected Solutions Leader, PwC US

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