“11 Ways the Integration Business Will Change This Decade” is a wide-ranging analysis by NSCA board members of the future of integration, originally published in the special Pivot to Profit+ section of the Q3 2021 edition of our quarterly trade journal, Integrate. This column discusses the transition to 5G.
The transition to 5G will enable integrators to provide augmented reality, virtual reality, and IoT solutions for customers.
A hot topic for years, the much-anticipated transition to 5G is finally beginning to come to fruition. While the pandemic certainly interrupted the large rollout planned for 2020, the need for faster connectivity actually increased with the rise of a remote workforce. Unfortunately for those already privy to 5G-enabled devices—such as the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S20—promised connectivity has been disappointing to say the least.
This is due in part to the network specificities involved. In order to operate as intended, 5G networks need to connect to a specific frequency: low-, mid-, or high-band. While low-band frequencies provide the most extensive coverage, they are notorious for slow connection speeds.
On the other hand, high-band frequencies provide the opposite solution: high speeds with limited coverage. This means that mid-range is really the only acceptable existing frequency that would support 5G. However, as it is in such high demand, untapped mid-band frequencies are extremely hard to come by, making it that much harder for the competing mobile carriers to parse out sections dedicated to 5G. This results in limited connectivity, as there is simply not enough current bandwidth available for the hyped-up network to achieve peak performance.
To get over the hurdle that limited mid-band frequency has caused to the 5G rollout, the nation’s top three carriers—T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon—have launched a series of consumer marketing campaigns. The typical strategy is to offer the latest 5G-enabled mobile device for little to no cost when consumers trade in their current devices. In choosing to receive the upgrade, consumers agree to pay lower monthly fees provided they stick with the carrier for a longer period of time (usually between two and three years). Not only does this allow the triopoly to get 5G devices in customers’ hands at a much quicker rate, but it also assures investors that the costly development of 5G infrastructure is worth the massive price tag.
The importance of implementing standalone 5G networks is paramount to the full adoption in the future. Carriers will continue to implement marketing strategies aimed at increasing adoption rates of consumers and appeasing investors, which will prove fruitful for expanded technology solutions in the near future.
Instead of relying on slow and unreliable 4G infrastructure for 5G connectivity, carriers will soon be able
to provide standalone 5G networks with the option for network slicing and increased connectivity for augmented reality and virtual reality experiences and enhanced success within the Internet of Things.
Dan Schmidtendorff is CEO of Communication Company and an NSCA board member.