GSMA Intelligence tipped 5G to be the first generation of mobile technology to have a bigger initial impact on the enterprise segment than consumer, though work must be done to convince businesses of the benefits.

In its Global Mobile Trends 2020 report, the research organisation noted companies spanning manufacturing, power generation and aerospace among others are already evaluating options for employing 5G, including its potential to digitise assembly lines and operations management.

Such innovations are enabled by well-known 5G characteristics including lower-latency. However, GSMA Intelligence noted many companies are unconvinced this is a big enough improvement to switch to the technology, with many reporting 4G remained sufficient for their needs.

There are geographic variations, though. For example, companies in China are more receptive to new 5G capabilities including network slicing, edge computing and the reduced latency. The reaction of businesses in the country had been boosted by operators inking partnerships and commencing trials long before the commercial launch of networks, resulting in “widespread industrial sector intent to use 5G.”

The research group also tackled the potential impact of 5G to kick-start smartphone sales following two years of stagnation due to lengthening upgrade cycles, a reduction in operator subsidies and limited design innovation.

GSMA Intelligence noted the next-generation technology would certainly provide marketing firepower, but was unlikely to be the knight in shining armour for the smartphone sector until paired with other emerging technologies including AR and VR.