In a nutshell, the key to profitable 5G deployment is to invest as though the value is bandwidth reinforcement for 4G, in areas of greatest need, without all the futuristic stuff, so cost is contained.
That overlay approach would focus 5G investment on cell site coverage areas where there is greatest demand, using dynamic spectrum sharing and other tools to gradually introduce 5G on a network-wide basis. That allows 5G investment to happen largely within existing capital budgets.
Still, the new platform creates the foundation for distinctive new use cases that are virtually certain to emerge.
That has been the case for every prior mobile generation. Where the lead app for analog mobile was simply voice “on the go,” for business users and well-heeled consumers, 2G added text messaging.
The 3G network added mobile web access and mobile email. The distinctive 4G experience is the ability to consume video. It is not clear what might emerge in the 5G era for consumer apps. Most observers believe enterprise apps and internet of things (machines talking to machines) will be distinctive features of 5G.