The survey found that 68% of Western European organisations do not currently have 5G as a part of their cellular or mobile network services infrastructure, while a quarter are not currently interested and do not have plans to move to 5G.
It appears that many are satisfied with their current network infrastructure while budget concerns are another key reason for their decision to hold back. Nearly half said they had given 5G consideration but decided against adoption Just 1% of Western European organisations currently have more than half their cellular infrastructure based on 5G.
While that figure is expected to increase to 27% within the next two years, the current level of interest in Europe is somewhat a surprise.
The benefits of 5G are certainly significant but it appears that many businesses have yet to be convinced and are holding back which, according to Marc Overton, SVP EMEA and Chief Solutions Officer at Sierra Wireless, will put them at a significant disadvantage.
“While every company is on a different journey with regards to their use and adoption of 5G, it is surprising to see current level of inertia in Europe. Research has shown the importance of real-time communications that 5G brings, along with supporting process evolution. 5G’s higher data speeds, lower latency and higher device capacity is set to transform several industries across a multitude of use cases, and new products coming to market can deliver the fast and always-on, secure connectivity needed for next generation mission and business-critical applications”, according to Overton, who continued, "5G will enable a much broader ecosystem of communication devices and sensors to be utilised and will therefore reduce the total cost of ownership. Upgrading to 5G also means that networks can handle large volumes of data with much faster response times."
Overton went on to explain that like many other foundational elements of the tech landscape, 5G isn’t arriving in a “big bang” but as a series of waves.
"As with 3G and 4G before it, 5G is following a path to commercialisation that reflects what’s easiest to deploy. In 2021, we will begin to see the rise of Wave 4, which will encompass the use of 5G to extend existing Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) Internet of Things (IoT) applications.”
This fourth wave will, according to Overton, will primarily support Massive, Machine-Type Communication (mMTC) IoT use cases using LPWA technologies, which are designed for IoT applications that require low-cost devices, low-power usage, and a large number of connected edge devices in a given area.
"Organisations that begin the rollout of 5G today will be able to facilitate a smooth transition from 4G for their applications and mMTC, while also taking advantage of any future enhancements in the technology via software updates. Given this, rather than wait, enterprises should move ahead with any mMTC-type IoT application initiatives they are currently pursuing or planning – knowing that when 5G’s enhancements to LPWA become available, they will be able to quickly update their application to benefit from these enhancements.”
“5G isn’t arriving in a ‘big bang’ but as a series of waves,” he warned. “There are a variety of ways for enterprises to ‘catch the 5G wave’ and companies should not hold off on their current IoT initiatives.”
Whatever the benefits, however, it does appear that plenty of businesses in Europe remain to be convinced.