Day 2: How IoT and 5G Will Change the Mobile Economy

Every minute, the world becomes more and more connected. The number of mobile device connections climbs every second, and almost every week it seems, a new operator announces a 5G trial.

But if the world is more connected than ever, just how connected will it be by 2025? And what will that mean for the future of the mobile industry?

That’s what the GSMA explores in its new Mobile Economy report, released yesterday during Mobile World Congress. By 2025, the GSMA predicts there will be more than 25 billion connected devices worldwide—more than triple what it is today. And 5G? It will cover 40 percent of the world’s population and account for 14 percent of all connections.

As the report discusses, the low latency and high speeds of 5G make it the ideal network to support the Internet of Things. Users will be able to stream video in real time on their connected devices, and travel in autonomous vehicles.

But the future is closer than we think. Take this year’s Winter Olympics, for instance, where visitors got to experience 5G firsthand. They watched 360-degree video feeds of athletes skating across the ice, and cruised around the Olympic village in self-driving cars. Building off of this momentum, Intel just announced that they’ll be supporting more 5G use cases at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

So what are operators doing to prepare for the change that’s coming with IoT and 5G? First, they’re investing in it, spending $500 billion on their networks over the next two years. Next, they’re exploring the additional use cases made available by IoT and 5G. 5G connectivity will support advanced video capabilities like 4K and 360-degree video viewed on connected devices, augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go, and autonomous vehicles like those driving around Pyeongchang.

And with all these new use cases and services comes the opportunity to generate more revenue. According to the GSMA report, global mobile revenue will hit $1.1 trillion by 2025. Operators can monetize new revenue streams and drive innovation. They can bundle connected devices into the plans they offer (a common upsell method), or use their connectivity in emerging markets like the connected home, telematics, transportation, and so on.

At Mobile World Congress, CSG leaders are talking about how 5G and IoT are driving change in the mobile industry, and how these services can be monetized. Watch the videos on our Mobile World Congress events page, and learn more about how we’re helping companies like Arrow monetize connectivity.