Michelle Donegan is a tech writer who has covered the communications industry for more than 25 years on both sides of the pond. Having worked for various industry titles, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom and Light Reading, she specializes in mobile network technology trends.
The latest 5G survey from Accenture finds that businesses across a variety of industry sectors have high expectations for the technology as well as concerns about security, internal skills gaps and costs.
Accenture asked 2,623 business and technology decision makers in 12 different sectors about what they thought of 5G and their plans for adoption. Respondents were from the U.K., U.S, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Singapore, UAE and Australia.
Most respondents (79%) believe that 5G will have a significant impact on their businesses, while more than half (57%) said that it will be “revolutionary,” according to the study. Just 24% said they felt the same about 5G as they do about 4G.
What businesses expect in the short to medium term
So what do businesses think 5G will let them do? Within the next two years, roughly two-thirds of respondents said 5G would give employees out in the field the support they need and expect to upgrade to 5G phones and networks, enabling employees to use mobile apps faster and more reliably.
Other expectations for 5G include more flexible networks that could replace leased lines or Wi-Fi, new applications for monitoring remotes sites, highly responsive connectivity solutions and remote working for staff.
Are Businesses Using 5G Yet?
More than half (54%) of respondents said they are piloting or have partly deployed 5G and more than a third (34%) said they have not yet adopted it. Only 10% said they are using 5G widely.
The healthcare industry has the most take-up so far, as 16% of respondents from the sector said they are using 5G throughout their organizations. In contrast, nearly half of government and public sector respondents said they are not using 5G at all.
- Useful read: How will 5G reshape business?
Current 5G Challenges for Businesses
Respondents identified numerous barriers to using 5G technology over the next three years, including security concerns, high upfront investment, lack of skills, insufficient understanding of how to use 5G, telecom service partners that don’t fully understand their industry and doubt that 5G use cases will provide enough return on investment (ROI).
Among these concerns, more than half of respondents said the most important challenge to overcome is how to use 5G to innovate in their specific businesses. The result suggests that if businesses can count on greater efficiency and innovation resulting from 5G, then it will ease concerns over cost and ROI. In other words, will 5G be worth it?
Meanwhile, the most difficult challenge flagged by respondents is ensuring the availability of devices that are optimized for 5G.
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