Fears that 5G use cases do not justify the extensive investments required to roll out the technology are unfounded, and the technology is going to change the world, according to Telstra CEO Andy Penn.
In a blog post published to coincide with the 3GPP meeting at Australia's Gold Coast this week, Penn said skepticism about the potential for new mobile technologies has been a common theme with each evolution.
“Before 2G it was hard to conceive of the mobile phone becoming a mass market device owned by billions of people. Before 3G, it was questionable that enough people would want to access the internet on their phones. And before 4G, it was a brave call to suggest enough people wanted access to HD video at all times,” he said.
“But in every one of these occasions the demand not only materialized it did so with remarkable speed and on a remarkable scale. Indeed, each new technology has been embraced more quickly than the last. 4G took just five years to reach 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for 3G.”
According to some forecasts, 5G will enable $12 trillion in economic output globally and support the creation of 22 million jobs by 2035, Penn said.
He said from Telstra's perspective the baseline business case for 5G is meeting rapidly growing demand for mobile data traffic and addressing ways to more efficiently meet these demands.
“On top of that we see incredibly exciting opportunities to open up new applications and services delivered over mobile using 5G – everything from IoT on a massive scale, to 4K and 8K video, to mission critical services, to remote robotics will be brought to a whole new level by 5G.”
Penn added that the full range of opportunities that will be enabled by 5G will not be clear when 5G capability is switched on.
He said Telstra is investing heavily in 5G, including through the planned deployment of 200 5G-enabled sites across Australia by the end of the year, out of a belief that first-movers will enjoy the earliest and greatest benefits from adopting the technology.