The role of digital infrastructure in challenging times

As quarantine restrictions continue to shutter workplaces around the globe, fixed and mobile networks have become a critical source of support for enterprises. The ability of mobile networks to meet this unprecedented demand proves the reliability and robustness of today's mobile technologies. Looking ahead, I predict that 5G will play a key role in the economic recovery and fundamentally change our ways of working and living our lives.

The role of digital infrastructure in challenging times
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Almost overnight, millions of businesses and hundreds of millions of people have withdrawn from the physical world and switched over to remote working, schooling and socializing.

In extraordinary times like these, the value of mobile connectivity in our societies is suddenly more apparent than ever before: its unequivocal performance, reliability and versatility are undeniable. Mobile connectivity does much more than help support our current living standards – it also provides a stable and reliable platform for economic growth.

Looking ahead, even more consumers around the world will soon have access to an advanced digital infrastructure through mobile 4G/LTE and cost-efficient, flexible 5G fixed wireless access to their homes as 5G expands to cover 65 percent of the world’s population by 2025.

The era of connected and digital enterprise

The latest mobility data shows a gradual transition to the latest technology and today 55 percent of mobile subscriptions globally are running on 4G/LTE. It’s clear to me that we’ve only scratched the surface of the value that mobile technologies can provide. The ongoing rollout of 5G and the wave of intelligent technologies that will be built on top of 5G as the innovation platform will dwarf anything that we have seen so far.

Just like 4G/LTE is the workhorse and innovation platform for countless consumer smartphone services, the 5G platform is capable of delivering user experiences and efficiency for both consumers and demanding enterprises. As a technological age, we are moving into a new space of connected machines, vehicles, wearables and many other things. From within these spaces, entire new enterprises and business models will emerge and deliver new value opportunities across manufacturing, transport, healthcare, energy and more.

In this new era of mobility, enterprise digitalization with globally scalable 5G including the Industry 4.0 transformation has the potential to deliver much-needed value opportunities for enterprises, communications service providers and technology vendors.

Ready for Industry 4.0? Smart manufacturing in action.

Ready for Industry 4.0? Smart manufacturing in action.


Creating much-needed value for communications service providers

For the CSPs that will be delivering and maintaining new enterprise offerings including industrial platforms, the move toward Industry 4.0 presents an opportunity to rebuild and refocus their business models and, as such, expand their offering into new markets.

By 2030, we estimate that two-thirds of the global workforce will use the 5G platform. Across industries, the frontrunners in leveraging 5G technology will enjoy industry leadership with the global scale of a horizontal platform.

This is happening already in the consumer electronics, manufacturing and production, and automotive industries. For CSPs, this trend is expected to generate an estimated USD 700 billion addressable market opportunity by 2030.

In fact, we already see that leading CSPs are evolving their business models to leverage the full benefits of what is to come, through embracing technologies such as the IoT, NFVi, AI, advanced automation and edge compute solutions.

The importance of being first

It is important to be aware, however, that the distribution of these opportunities will not happen evenly. History shows us that early movers who deploy with pace and scale tend to receive the lion’s share of the benefits.

The app economy that emerged following 4G deployment is a great example of this. In a very short period of time, it profoundly changed the conditions for business across both B2B and B2C markets and led to the formation of new enterprise powerhouses across e-commerce, mobile video and social media. In less than a decade we witnessed dramatic industrial change that delivered significant economic and social benefits, primarily in US and East Asian markets.

With 5G, we expect the technological opportunities to have an even bigger impact on economies around the globe. While 4G reverberated across consumer markets and some industry verticals, 5G will produce a horizontal earthquake across all sectors – creating vast opportunities for both new and existing enterprises the world over.

5G as an innovation platform: From robotic-assisted surgery to healthcare at home.

5G as an innovation platform: From robotic-assisted surgery to healthcare at home.


To show how these new technologies can and should be used for positive change in society, we are driving an agenda with our partners across industry and academia based on leveraging our technological leadership for the benefit of regions, companies and individuals as we take on the world’s big challenges of development and growth, climate change through the exponential roadmap and health through pro-active always-on health systems.

5G as the innovation platform with its in-built capabilities of performance, efficiency, flexibility and security is the foundation for this global digital infrastructure.

Looking toward new 5G-powered opportunities

Today’s business leaders are all facing an uncertain period now and I know that the focus for many is on survival. It’s important to recognize, though, that implicit within survival is growth. To secure the future of our enterprises in the long term, I believe we must look beyond the horizon, leverage the most advanced technology in 5G, and take action today to prepare for what is to come.


Learn more

Read Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm’s recent blog post on the correlation between network quality and financial performance.

Read the latest insights from Ericsson Research on our future technologies page.

Visit Ericsson’s coronavirus FAQ page.

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