What does 5G mean for enterprises?

5G will empower businesses to create new experiences and connect in inventive ways, changing how we work and play, and solving many long-standing problems -- some not even identified yet. Excitement about the possibilities is ramping up the 5G hype and fueling executive fears of getting left behind.

Like with any nascent technology, enterprises risk rushing into the wrong 5G investments or failing to act soon enough, chasing technology rather than leading the future. But, we predict 5G won’t hit mass adoption until 2025. Enterprise executives have time to get on board and to address the challenges of adopting 5G.

5G challenges for enterprises

Predicting a future with 5G is practically impossible. 4G ushered in a host of unexpected capabilities from streaming video to ride sharing and beyond. As enterprises begin to plan for when 5G becomes widespread, key factors to consider include:

Strategy and timing

Knowing when, where, and how to enter the market with a new product, service experience, or operational capability built on 5G capabilities requires modeling out a number of variables.

Operational Costs

Whether enterprises see an increase or decrease in operating costs as a result of 5G depends on the business. Enterprises that leverage 5G for massive IoT deployments may eventually see lower costs, but enterprise solutions that require 5G’s low latency/edge computing features could see increased operational costs, at least initially.

Workforce Planning

Enterprises will need to assess the gap in their current technical capabilities to offer 5G enabled services. They may also need to reorganize/train their marketing, sales and operations team to maximize their 5G investments.


As with any data-centric technology investment, enterprises will need to design and deploy data privacy and data protection measures to comply with GDPR and CCPA for starters. But, as we’ve seen in recent press, the risks don’t end there.

Let’s be realistic.

We provide a realistic look at the likelihood of certain use cases materializing in the next five years to help enterprises separate opportunity from overreaction.

A platform for new services

5G’s benefits will evolve as rollouts accelerate, becoming more prominent in day to day life. As more devices, machines and systems become connected, the evolution of Internet of Things will accelerate, ultimately ushering in a digital world where everything is “smart.”

That reality remains five or more years out, but companies have work to do to harness the full potential of data available using today’s already-robust connected capabilities built on present-day networking solutions.


Helping Enterprises succeed

Translating 5G’s immensity into reality requires consistently filtering conflicting information. Taking a comprehensive approach to understanding your business, PwC can help define if and how 5G (alone or with other emerging technologies) might support your growth, customer experience, and employee experience goals. We can help you:

At the intersection of business, experience and technology, PwC can help you evaluate how to monetize 5G and bring new products/services to market. We bring our deep understanding of the carrier value chain and routes to market to help you design and deploy your 5G monetization strategy.

From strategy through execution, PwC can deliver turnkey IoT solutions that can have an immediate impact on your business. With PwC IoT-powered Connected Solutions, ordinary things that make your operations tick suddenly tell you - and one another - status, location, identity. To harness real-time data intelligence and inform business decisions. Reduce cost. Increase efficiency. Enhance trust. Create better experiences. For your customers and your employees.

PwC can help interpret and respond to regulators and governments who are deeply involved and invested in 5G roll-outs. Our data protection, privacy and cybersecurity specialists are adept at navigating the ambiguity of which parties bear responsibility for protecting consumer data.

PwC will collaborate with you to reimagine your workforce in a Human + Machines world. Upskilling will play a central role and we can help, starting with identifying skills gaps and mismatches.



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Dan  Hays

Dan Hays

Principal, Consulting Solutions, PwC US

Rob Mesirow

Rob Mesirow

Principal, PwC US

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