The potential market value brought by the 5G technology in the vertical industries is expected to reach 4.3 trillion U.S. dollars globally, the international accounting firm KPMG estimated.
For operators, retail, manufacturing, and health care industries are the fields where they can maximize their profits on 5G application investment, they analyzed.
After granting 5G licenses to three major telecom operators in June, China has seen 5G applications springing up in many places across the country.
To list a few, the 5G emergency system applied to the earthquake rescue work in Sichuan Province this June was one of the latest attempts made by the medical industry.
Powered by the new tech, the medical equipment on the ambulance was able to send medical images and vital signs of the patients to the hospital emergency center in real time. Experts on the other side were able to have group discussions with doctors on spot without any delay, which matters a lot in emergency cases.
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Although 5G technology has advanced quickly, many experts still believe that the development is on the initial stage. More application scenarios remain to be explored.
Wu Jichuan, former minister of industry and information technology, said during a telecommunication seminar last week that the industrial internet is the future trend of the 5G application. He explained the industrial internet by referring the definition given by the General Motor in 2012 of "connecting human, data and machine."
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He pointed out that 5G technology is not intended to replace 4G. China has just entered the 4G arena, and the potential of it has not been fully tapped. The priority is not to differentiate 4G with 5G, but to link mobile communication with internet service.
"Featuring high speed, low latency, and wide connectivity, 5G is just a natural product of mobile communication development, we should treat the technology in a more down-to-earth attitude," he said.
Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, expressed his view in an early interview this year. "Human society does not have such an urgent need for 5G, what we need is just the broadband, the fast speed. But what 5G can offer is far from that. More applications scenarios will be created when more demand emerges. So 5G development is doomed to be slow and progressive."
What's more, the operational cost of 5G development is several times higher than that of 4G, according to Zhang Yunyong, the president of the China Unicom Research Institute.
"Operators will face financial burdens to operate and deploy 5G network considering the still-unprofitable 4G network business and the unclear profit model of 5G network," Zhang said.
The total investment in terms of 5G network will reach 2.3 trillion yuan, about four times that of 4G, Zhang mentioned.