Changing mobile broadband demand and consumption patterns have triggered a shift towards 5G globally. In­dia too is witnessing a boom in data consumption, and operators are realising that the existing 3G and 4G networks will prove to be inadequate to meet future demand. Currently, 60 per cent of the data consumed in the country is used for watching high definition (HD) videos. Although existing technologies like 4G support standard definition videos, they may not be able to support the future requirements of HD video content.

In such a scenario, a move towards 5G is inevitable a few years down the line. The technology promises benefits such as low latency of around 1 millisecond, peak down­load rates of 10 GB per second, high data-carrying capacity (about a thousand times more than that of 4G) and low network energy consumption (about 90 per cent less than 4G). It is, therefore, bound to change the way the telecom industry functions.

Interestingly, the benefits of 5G will not be limited to the telecom industry, and will extend to several other industries. This is because every industry is undergoing a digital transformation, enabled by mobility, cloud and broadband. 5G promises more efficient operations by enabling massive machine-to-machine-type communication, and supporting the concept of connected cars, trains, and automated factories.

According to the 3rd Generation Part­nership Project, 5G technology has economic, political as well as environmental advantages. There are a number of studies that establish the positive relationship between the gross domestic product of an economy and the launch of 5G technology. It is also expected to open up new use cases such as augmented reality and HD video sharing.

Enhanced mobile broadband

Speed, high bandwidth, end-to-end latency and high network capacity in areas with dense user concentration and cloud network architecture are driving the 5G mobile broadband use case. The need for broadband connectivity is being driven by the rapid increase in mobile video streaming and increased usage of HD video quality that requires high internet speed and network throughput. Also, with most office applications now moving to the cloud, the network-air interface will need to be significantly im­proved and network architecture will have to be cloud native to warrant high speed connectivity and data transmission.

Smart grids

Smart grids require a robust communication system that links the power generation, transmission and distribution assets to man­­­agement systems. A key factor that ensures the success of a smart grid network is, therefore, its cross-regional reach, which requires coordinated evacuation and transmission of power from one region to another. This necessitates the automatic control of substations and replacement of isolated transmission systems with grid-level transmission through a secure and reliable mobile network that connects the grid to the substations. 5G networks can satisfy these needs. Also, smart grids based on 5G net­w­orks eliminate the need for utilities to deploy their own communication systems.

Smart driving

The automobile industry is at the cusp of a transformation that will extend well into the future and see the emergence of technologies that enable new safety and efficiency systems and driverless cars. Central to these automobile technologies is a robust communication system that draws from a sophisticated network allowing seamless communication with other cars, traffic control systems and third-party applications. These connected cars would require en­han­ced safety features such as internet of vehicles, which would help reduce accident rates, congestion and pollution. 5G networks would be able to satisfy these re­quirements as they would provide high real-time performance and a high rate of data transmission. Further, the technical requirements for self-driving cars call for ultra-low latencies and ultra-high reliability that can be provided by 5G networks.

Smart manufacturing

As technologies evolve, manufacturing systems will increasingly employ artificial intelligence systems and strive for paperless work ecosystems. This would require the entire supply chain to be connected thr­o­u­gh sophisticated networks to enable data sharing between design, manufacturing and distribution nodes, with information from customers, suppliers, products and equipment. According to Pricewater­house­Coo­pers, the manufacturing industry is likely to invest $900 billion per annum on sensors, connectivity and software technologies by 2020. However, successful smart manufacturing would require on-site and intersite connectivity as well as wide-ranging networks to connect the entire supply chain.


Healthcare providers and doctors have started using mobile devices for diagnosis and are offering advice via video links. In the future, communication technologies in the healthcare sector would enable the usage of body area sensors to manage a patient’s health, and to monitor and control it through smart medicine administration. Telehealth applications could particularly help assisted living through smart home automation systems by combining insights via cloud analytics with sensors and actuators to manipulate the care setting automatically. In addition, it would enable tracking and monitoring of healthcare equipment. As the existing networks are less-than-equipped to meet the demands of mHealth, 5G services would offer the required bandwidth, spe­ed, reliability and performance to enable better healthcare services.