5G+ is as good a way as any to assess the value 5G might produce. Bell Labs Consulting uses “5G+” as an umbrella term for a broad ecosystem of technologies that will unlock the future economic potential of industry.
And that makes sense for observers who argue that 5G is but part of a complex of emerging technologies including edge cloud infrastructure, private networks, augmented intelligence, automation, sensing and robotics, as well as platform and as-a-service business models that will have a collective impact.
As a corollary, assessment of the economic value of that complex of technologies produces big numbers, as would be the case if one tried to quantify the impact of value created by all uses of computing or electricity in a modern economy.
But even infrastructure spending can reach lofty levels when looking at the full complex of 5G+ technologies.
Bell Labs Consulting estimates spending of up to $4.5 trillion in 2030 for the 5G+ enablers and about $8 trillion in new economic value in 2030 from the 5G+ complex.
Perhaps most significantly, Bell Labs Consulting notes that early 5G+ adopters report the number-one and number-two benefits as being “incremental revenue growth” and the “ability to enter new or adjacent markets.
For those who believe long-term connectivity provider strategy has to be based on movement into new roles in the internet ecosystem and value chain, those are suggestive findings. Indeed, though incremental revenue growth always is important, the enabling of moves into adjacent markets might be the most important.
The caveat might be that it will remain hard to quantify the various contributions of 5G+ capabilities. It might also be argued that 5G is so new that it is likely other parts of the technology complex–such as computing as a service–have been the actual value drivers and enablers, not 5G connectivity as such.