Most verticals are in no hurry to adopt 5G: ABI survey

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Almost two thirds of US-based verticals have no plans to deploy 5G in the coming years, says a report from ABI Research that it says underlines a severe discord between 5G market hype and the enterprise industry’s readiness to deploy the technology.

According to ABI’s recent B2B technology survey covering 455 companies across nine verticals, nearly all respondents who plan to one day incorporate 5G technology into their business models citing that they are in the early investigation phase, but that 62% of respondents do not plan to deploy 5G technology anytime soon.

With 5G standards not yet completed and commercial rollouts in most markets not expected until at least 2020, most businesses are simply in no hurry to adopt 5G despite hyped up B2B apps such as IoT, virtual reality and self-driving cars, illustrating that the current hype over 5G is being driven by the technology supply chain rather than the end-markets, says Malik Saadi, managing director and VP of ABI Research.

“All indicators lead us to believe that 5G will take hold in the consumer market before it claims its stake in the enterprise and industrial sectors,” said Saadi. “As the 5G roadmap develops, it is now more imminent than ever for technology suppliers to engage with implementers — understand their requirements, educate them on the value of 5G, and help bring their specific use case needs to life.”

Survey findings indicate that the retail vertical shows the most aggressive outlook in its willingness to adopt 5G technology. With 51% of retail respondents assessing or planning to deploy 5G in the coming years, this suggests that this vertical has a specific need for 5G to support bandwidth-hungry and low latency use cases, including AR, VR, and robotic applications.

At the other end of the spectrum, autonomous driving ranks as the least popular 5G use case across all verticals.

“Conversely, autonomous driving is the most hyped use case in the 5G technology supply chain,” continues Saadi. “The misalignment between demand and supply planning clearly indicates that 5G technology vendors need to better communicate with implementers to ensure that well-informed decisions are being made to ultimately fulfill long-term customer requirements.”

Virtual reality ranks as the most popular use case for 5G across all market segments, with 89% of respondents who plan to deploy 5G in the coming years also planning to deploy VR. Robotics also ranks high in use case popularity but remains largely ignored by 5G vendors due to technology complexities and several regulatory and socioeconomic challenges facing this industry.

“5G technology suppliers are currently working in a vacuum, often denigrating the rights of technology implementers to influence the 5G development roadmap,” Saadi said. “The retail, healthcare, and federal government verticals show the highest willingness to deploy 5G technology in the coming years and, as such, need careful attention by 5G technology suppliers to ensure that their individual, varied use case needs will be properly addressed.”

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