Can you imagine your world without a smartphone? Or a world without access to Uber, Spotify or Netflix…
Probably not, and yet this device is barely a decade old.
Smartphones have been adopted faster than any technology that's come before it.
In just six years one out of 2 Americans had adopted smartphones. Compared to radio's eight years, VCR's nine years or the internet's 11 years.
But smartphones don't work without wireless technology… And we've experienced four major versions of wireless cellular technology.
45 Years ago, wireless communication started to gain some traction. That's when Motorola engineers placed the first mobile phone call.
A decade or so later, the first widely used cellular networks debuted. These first-generation — or 1G — networks allowed the first widespread use of cellphones.
By the early 1990s, digital, or 2G, cell service became available. These networks allowed for more than just voice. With 2G, users could text.
2G also allowed for more data services, leading to the first early attempts at creating smartphones.
But we wanted more. And by the early 2000s, telecommunications companies began rolling 3G wireless connectivity out. The improved connectivity allowed us to do more than just text… we could now go online.
It started with BlackBerry phones, and by the late 2000s, the smartphone became abundant with the revolutionary iPhone and other models that followed.
Today, 4G wireless is the standard. If you have a speedy wireless connection on your smartphone, it's thanks to the newer standards and technology.
Almost every tech innovation of the past 20 years has either been directly or indirectly enabled by wireless networks.
Think about it?
Without a way to connect anytime, anywhere, Apple could never have been able to reinvent the phone.
But it was so much more than just a phone. You didn’t just make calls with it. Smartphones became the focal point of consumer technology.
Rising coverage and data speeds enabled a slew of internet services and applications from social media to ride sharing to gaming.
From Uber to Spotify, without faster and better wireless, billions in wealth would never have come into existence.
There would be no Google Maps to get you around a strange city. And, of course, no chance to watch Netflix when away from home.
These days, we can hardly imagine a world where our smartphones don’t exist. Yet these devices are barely a decade old.
And in time, each of these past generations of wireless technology will only be considered “prequels” to the greatest wireless tech of them all…
5G: The 21st century tech revolution set to catapult into a $12.3 trillion industry!
Imagine connecting more than 100 times faster than your current 4G connection… and more than 10 times faster than your home broadband.
Wireless speeds so fast you can download a high-definition movie in a second.
That’s the power of 5G.
With 5G, tech innovations like virtual reality (VR) and electric cars, are now a reality.
But they’re just two applications of the 5G demand puzzle. There will also be a growth of new data-hungry devices.
Growth of the internet of things (IoT) means data use will grow exponentially. As many as a trillion devices will connect over the next 10 years.
5G will lead to new tech we haven’t even dreamed up yet. Take 4G, it enabled billion-dollar “unicorn” start-ups to emerge like Uber, Facebook and the whole ‘app’ economy.
According to former Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Rob McDowell,
“No one foresaw the app economy coming. What’s exciting about 5G is that nobody can really fathom what’s going to happen.”
US chip maker, Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) believes,
• 5G will lift mobile into a technology that changes the world.
• …the global 5G standard will advance mobile from connecting people-to-people and people-to-information to a unified connectivity – connecting people to everything.
The company projects that $12.3 trillion in new goods and services will be enabled by 5G technology by 2035, creating 22 million jobs and growing the world economy by $3 trillion!
Phone company, Ericsson says the new 5G market will be worth more than $1.2 trillion by 2026.
And the Global System Mobile (GSM) Association predicts over a billion 5G connections by 2025, reaching a third of the global population.
The move from 4G to 5G is going to be like moving from the typewriter to the computer.
In other words, it will involve new ways of thinking and new industries to support new ways of doing things.
See you next week.
Managing Editor, The South African Investor