New services are already being rolled out in major cities and towns across the UK, primarily targeting consumers – but what’s the potential of 5G for business and what opportunities will it create for resellers?
At the end of May, EE launched the UK’s first 5G service in six cities, heralding this as the start of a new era in which faster and more reliable mobile connectivity will be available to everyone.
For B2B resellers, the arrival of 5G has a number of implications and presents several opportunities. At present, EE and other service providers are focusing very much on the consumer. That after all, is where the quick wins and the most immediate profits are going to be found.
But what works for consumers will work for business – and as soon as people have 5G themselves, they will want to use it in their working lives as well. Organisations that provide mobile devices and contracts for staff will be expected to move onto 5G pretty quickly – not only to stay competitive, but also to keep their staff happy. Our c
From everyone’s perspective, a lot of the early benefits of 5G are going to result from the increased speed it delivers in what is now a data-driven world. With a top theoretical speed of 10 gigabits per second, 5G is up to a hundred times faster than 4G – which has a theoretical top speed of 100 megabits per second.
As well as allowing consumers to download content much faster, this will allow business users to make use of heavy-duty applications, online collaboration tools and voice services, and to download massive files with ease when they are on the move or working remotely. With 4G, using email and web surfing is fine – but using the cellular connection for anything much more demanding than this can be problematic, as there is often too much latency to make the experience worthwhile.
Another big benefit with 5G is that it is better at coping with large numbers of users connecting to the network. This means that users won’t suffer in the same way as they have with 4G when the network gets really busy in a particular area – such as a train station or at an event or conference.
With these limitations removed, mobile users – providing they have a sufficient data allowance – will be able to use their 5G to communicate and work at any location where they can get a 5G signal, and get something close to the experience they get when using a fixed line connection in the office.
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere
For business users, 5G will provide an opportunity to be even more productive on the move and for VoIP resellers this translates into an opportunity to sell new 5G mobile plans and devices, along with higher data allowances. The services will carry a premium for some time, so there is real potential to boost revenues and margins.
When 5G reaches rural areas where fixed-line broadband is still not available, there will also be opportunities to sign-up new customers.
Due to its speed and enhanced reliability, 5G will be even more effective as a failover technology for fast broadband services. Businesses that become dependent on maintaining connections at a higher speed – as many are now that they have adopted Hosted VoIP and cloud apps – will feel less vulnerable when they are using 5G as a back-up for their main connection.
As 5G networks reach further, there may be other possibilities as well. It will certainly be a boost for hosted voice and other cloud-based services, as it brings genuinely fast, ubiquitous, always-on connectivity one step closer.
Reliable and secure
Beyond this, there will be an opportunity to bring fixed and mobile services together in a really seamless way for the first time. Users will be switched between fixed line, in-house and external WiFi, and 5G connections without having to do anything. They will always be connected, always have access to apps and services, and always be fully protected.
This last point is an important one; security is becoming a much bigger issue for all organisations now and 5G will provide enough room for services such as real-time encryption and remote monitoring to be carried out without any degradation in performance.
There will also be potential to set-up new kinds of communications networks that make use of Internet of Things sensors – to track and manage autonomous vehicles manage traffic flows, and to measure water levels and air quality, for example. They will come later and clearly require some specialist knowledge – and more potential applications will undoubtedly emerge as 5G matures.
For now, the essential benefit of 5G is that it is much faster and makes mobile working and remote connectivity even better and more reliable and secure. It expands the possibilities for businesses and thus presents some good opportunities for resellers. It is certainly going to attract a lot of interest and enquiries, and that perhaps is the biggest benefit of all, as it will give resellers with a chance to talk to customers about their wider communications, mobile and productivity needs.