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5G could transform the workplace, but only if operators can make a stronger business case

Caroline Gabriel Principal Analyst, Research

"Operators find it difficult to make the business case for indoor enterprise networks, but without these networks, the '5G workplace' will remain a myth."

5G has the potential to radically transform business and industrial processes by enabling adoption of technologies such as robotics and virtual reality in mainstream working practices. Many of the debates around 5G ignore one simple fact about cellular connectivity – to date, voice has traditionally been regarded by operators as the primary business-critical service, while full mobile broadband has been implemented only very sporadically indoors. However, ubiquitous mobile broadband coverage deep indoors will be essential if the '5G workplace' is to become a reality. This comment argues that 5G has the capacity to deliver significant economic benefits for businesses such as improved collaboration and enhanced productivity, but only if operators find a solid business case for deploying high-quality mobile networks deep inside buildings. Better co-operation, and even co-investment, between operators and enterprises will be important areas of focus for realising the full advantages of 5G in the workplace.