The coming 5G era is likely to be quite different from all prior generations of mobile networks, in several ways. First, it is likely to be the first mobile network generation whose new revenue sources are likely to come from enterprise customers, not consumers. That has never happened before.
The 5G era also is expected to be the first era where new revenue sources actually are generated by non-human use cases.
But there are some wider business model challenges and opportunities–beyond 5G–that could appear in a concentrated way in the 5G era, not specifically because of 5G, but because of shifts in the value of connectivity services.
The historic role of communications networks has been connectivity, initially to support a specific application, namely voice. That trend continued with the rise of text messaging and linear video entertainment: customers paid for access to the app, not specifically for use of the network that supported the app.
In the business customer segment, the new element was computer networking (data services).
All that changed with internet access.
The 5G era is likely to be the first period where business models based on connectivity revenues will break, after bending in the 4G era. While there are stressed, that also has never happened before.
And though all generations have been characterized by some degree of risk, the level of overall risk has been growing since 3G, and might well be magnified in the 5G era.
That is why the Spectrum Futures conference will provide two days of instruction on what 5G is, why it matters and how it will work.