One way of looking at the business value of 5G is to note simply that it enables cost per gigabyte low enough to support coming business models where much more mobile data must be provided, at roughly the same prices as present service plans.
Data delivered by a 4G LTE macrocell costs about $2.13 per gigabyte. But use small cell and MIMO technologies and the cost per gigabyte drops to $1.28.
A 5G network using mid-band frequencies (such as 4 GHz) and early MIMO (four thread) can deliver a gigabyte for about 45 cents.
When multiple antenna arrays are used, increasing the number of threads to 64, cost per gigabyte drops to perhaps 20 cents.
As end user data consumption continues to increase, that alone is the rationale for 5G deployment, even discounting early enablement of new revenue streams.
Once 28 GHz millimeter wave and massive 256-thread arrays are created, the cost of data goes down to six cents per gigabyte for the spectrum, network equipment, site lease, backhaul and power, all combined, according to Liam Madden, EVP and GM at Xilinx of the wired and wireless group.