July 04, 2020

Will 2020 be the year of 5G wireless networks? Many consumers and businesses think so, but we’re also witnessing the first signs of disillusionment. Explore three stages of infrastructure-led 5G innovation, along with 5G infrastructure investment opportunities in the United States, to promote deployment, adoption, and commercialization.

Early hype generated by 5G’s potential, coupled with its limited availability at the end of 2019, are understandable reasons for some skepticism. But how ominous are these signs of cynicism? Are 5G application innovation and associated business model development doomed if users don’t experience transformative change as quickly as they expect?

Examining previous wireless generational upgrades, 4G-LTE in particular, reveals a lag of two to three years between network infrastructure deployment and innovative applications and business models. Deloitte’s analysis suggests that carriers, applications providers, investors, and users should expect a similar gap for 5G.

But this expected gap between deployed infrastructure and application innovation shouldn’t be mistaken for a dormant period, as it’s typically marked by experimentation, invention, and investment. Furthermore, governments should note that this period can provide an opportunity to advance national infrastructure policy through the creation of demand signals that help speed up 5G deployment and enable subsequent 5G innovation.

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