In Business Model, Internet Access, Mobile

Many would argue there is likely to be no single “killer app” for 5G, as some argued there was no single killer app for 4G. That is not to say some obvious lead use cases are not foreseeable. Many could agree that 3G’s lead app was mobile web access, while 4G’s lead use case was entertainment video. Most would tend to agree that internet of things is likely to be a lead new use case for 5G. 

Still, we are likely to be proven wrong about many possible new use cases. As was the case for 3G, many 4G predicted use cases did not occur. In fact, it has been the case that advanced apps often take up to 20 years to become significant. Apps touted for 3G did not become mass market behaviors until 4G. It therefore would not be unprecedented if many touted 5G use cases do not actually become common until the era of 6G. And there is a high probability we will be surprised by use cases that do become common.

source: IDTechEx


More likely to happen is that predicted 4G use cases actually become feasible with 5G. Live mobile streaming was supposed to be a killer app. To be sure, people often capture video, but it is not so often actually live streamed. “Portable routers” were supposed to be a killer app. Never happened. 

Consumption of streamed video entertainment did become mainstream. But physical textbooks have not been replaced. And the prediction that magazine and newspaper publishers would create multimedia premium content sold as part of “premium” services has failed to happen. 

Nor has augmented reality navigation or widespread telemedicine actually happened. 

Nor is that unusual. Neither 3G or 4G had a killer app that everyone would recognize, though a few use cases, such as using mobile phones to access web  content, or using 4G to watch video, were common new behaviors for 3G and 4G respectively. 

The point is that our predictions or hopes for 5G use cases are likely to prove frustrating, or simply quantitative extensions of what already was happening with 4G. IoT apps have been in commercial use since 2G, for example. 

Changes will happen. Just as was the case for 3G and 4G, developers will find useful ways to build apps using the platform. But we might well be surprised about what those new apps or use cases happen to be. 

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