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Who will benefit the most from 5G

The growth of 5G cellular technology has gotten a lot of people excited, including those who are looking for 5G to provide a larger market for cloud computing, and most important, to simplify both connectivity and security.

The question is: Who will have the most to gain? Enterprises that consume 5G? The cloud computing providers? The telecommunications companies that sell 5G?

5G solves a few problems for enterprises.

First, it normalizes connectivity. When I travel, I use a variety of connectivity mechanism, including portable hot spots, hotel W-iFi, aircraft Wi-Fi, coffee shop Wi-Fi, etc. There is no consistent speed that I can expect. 5G should mean consistently high speeds using the same mechanism and network, at home and on the road. 

Second, security. Using public networks makes security risks go up 100-fold. Using 5G consistently should keep security consistently high as well, considering that you’re using the same security system at all times on a known network.

For the cloud providers, the ROI from 5G is simple. The better the connectivity, the more money they make. Right now, broadband is not in every part of the United States, and if 5G changes that for home and mobile, the use of cloud computing goes up in alignment with 5G adoption.

More important, the use of cloud computing-based applications (such as streaming services), will find a huge part of the market that has yet to be exploited. The lack of  widespread high-speed options is why you still see DVD rental shops in rural areas.

Finally, telecom will benefit from the new market that 5G will provide. Households and businesses will select one primary 5G provider for all connectivity. Cable and DSL modems may be put on the same shelf with that ISDN modem you used for a year.

So, I think the benefits will accrue in that order. Enterprises will gain the most, cloud providers will come in second, and at the bottom of the stack will be telecom that innovated 5G in the first place. Funny how that happens.

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