The number of 5G connections globally will reach 1.3 billion by 2025, covering 40 percent of the world’s population or approximately 2.7 billion people. At that time, the Americas region is expected to account for over 260 million 5G connections or 20 percent of the global market, said a report from GSMA.
“Intelligent connectivity will have a significant and positive impact on individuals, industry and society, marking the beginning of a new era defined by highly contextualised and personalised experiences,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Augmented and virtual reality will change the way we watch live sports and music concerts, drones will deliver packages to our homes, while virtual personal assistants will manage our lives for us. New 5G networks, AI and the upscaling of the Internet of Things will change the world, intelligently connecting everyone and everything to a better future.”
The new report from GSMA asserted that 5G networks and AI systems would communicate the location of vehicles, bicycles and people in real time, reducing the chance of accidents or collisions. Data on the weather, surface conditions, road works or congestion can be relayed in real time from a cyclist’s helmet and, when combined with AI, could help road users plot better routes. 5G enabled systems will also enhance driving by monitoring the behaviour of adjacent vehicles and responding accordingly, such as applying the brakes, as well as automatically calling for assistance in the event of accidents. 5G will also usher in an era of reliable self-driving vehicles, such as autonomous trucks that travel in convoys or platoons and taxis to take you safely home.
“IoT is helping to pave the way towards 5G, with deployments of Low-Power Wide-Area networks on the road to massive IoT. Advances with 5G critical communications and enhanced mobile broadband will bring increasing opportunity in the IoT, including connected cars, smart homes and cities, connected health and more. Intelligent connectivity technology will transform the way we live and work every day,” says Susan A. Johnson, executive vice president, Global Connections & Supply Chain, AT&T.
5G promises to fundamentally change the way we consume entertainment, delivering 4K and 8K ultra-high-definition video, 3D video, holograms, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications for gaming and immersive TV, as well as digital services and content for connected stadia. Music or live sports events could be broadcast from an athlete’s or artist’s point of view with spectators able to access multiple camera angles or replays on different screens or see overlayed information on VR headsets – all from the comfort of their home. Video games will become more immersive and realistic through virtual reality and HD graphics and access to super-fast internet speeds will allow gamers to play in any location without the cost or inconvenience of carrying specialised hardware. AI gaming platforms will also tailor games by making them more engaging and player relevant.
“Over the next few years, there’s going to be a huge increase in mobile data traffic, an explosion of devices connected to mobile networks, along with even more demand from consumers and businesses for wireless connectivity and better performance,” said Kevin Crull, Chief Strategy Officer at Sprint. “The investment made by the U.S. telecom industry in delivering the world’s best 5G networks is going to be key in helping to drive innovation, entrepreneurship, and future economic growth and is why we must work rapidly to support the growing demand.”
The report also highlights how 5G networks will enable UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or drones to provide fast, low-cost, secure delivery straight to customers’ homes. The network will help to coordinate large fleets so that they fly safely, automatically avoiding collisions with buildings and other drones as well as provide secure connections, authentication and smart autonomous navigation with high-definition video backup and recovery location in case of emergencies.
The Role of the Operator in the Americas
Mobile operators across the Americas are already making great strides in the rollout and delivery of 5G networks. The US is set to be one of the first countries in the world to launch 5G commercial services. with all four US national mobile operators having announced their first deployment plans. Mobile 5G services are expected to launch later this year by AT&T and Verizon, with AT&T targeting twelve markets and Verizon four. Sprint plans to launch its mobile 5G service in the first half of 2019, with nine markets announced already.