Over the next five years, Bain & Company expects 5G to enter the mainstream, gaining popularity through accelerated deployment by telcos, affordable handsets and other major uses for the technology. According to the firm's analysis, the adoption of 5G is expected to be faster in its first seven years—2018 to 2025—than the adoption of 4G in the seven years following its market debut in 2009. AI can help operators deal with the complexities invilved with rolling out 5G at scale.
Research by Bain & Company shows that the number of 5G connections worldwide will triple from less than 700 million today to more than 2.1 billion by 2025. This strong momentum reflects heavy operator investment in 5G infrastructure, a gradual expansion of 5G use cases and a global hunger for data connectivity—which has increasingly surged during the pandemic. Yet, despite this insurgence, many telcos still struggle to reap the full rewards that 5G has to offer. The new report explores how operators are using artificial intelligence to accrue a better return on investment (ROI) from 5G deployment.
"Artificial intelligence is already being used by leading telcos to gain a strategic advantage in 5G," said Herbert Blum, head of Bain & Company's Global Communications, Media & Entertainment practice, "But being AI-native requires more than an optimization of existing business processes or workflow overlays. It demands that the role of employees across all functions evolves in partnership with the technology as well.”