AT&T Mobility just made a major announcement. They now offer 5G wireless in 10 markets for consumers and business customers with more coming in the next few weeks before the end of 2019. I spoke with Igal Elbaz, Senior Vice President – Wireless Technology for AT&T. Let me share some of that conversation and what we can expect from the wireless industry with 5G.

At the AT&T SHAPE event a few months ago at Warner Brothers Studio in Hollywood, they showed how 5G would change everything. It is so exciting to see what’s coming. In fact, every wireless carrier and handset maker is moving in the same direction. That means networks, smartphone and tablet makers and every corner of the wireless industry is quickly moving in this same direction.

AT&T announced 5G for consumer and business growing rapidly

With that said, expect 2020 to be the year that every wireless competitor, in every sector accelerates their 5G buildout and coverage both on the network and handset side. Let’s take a closer look.

Going forward, expect to hear about every competitor in the wireless space to be making their own announcements. In fact, I expect the rollout pace to accelerate into high gear in 2020.

That means networks, handset and tablet makers, network builders and other industries as well will all be part of the very loud chorus. Competitors are all heading in this same direction.

We need to have this kind of spirit to launch this transformation and then to watch how each of them continues to try and out gun the competition. In the end, this kind of competition is actually good for a rapid rollout and innovation wave.

Big challenge companies will face with 5G wireless is being heard

One of the challenges will be for each of these competitors to rise above the noise of the changing industry and be noticed by customers, workers, investors and the media.

One thing is for sure, 5G will be huge. Just like 4G and 3G were huge for the wireless industry, both networks and handset makers, 5G will be as well. However, there is much more this time since this new technology will be faster than ever and the latency is cut to nearly zero.

That means wireless will be instant. What that means for other industries is this instant communication will allow and empower them to use 5G to accelerate their growth and transformation as well.

One example is self-driving cars or autonomous vehicles. 5G will let these vehicles to sense what’s around them and instantly communicate to turn or stop to avoid accidents and other problems on the road.

Qualcomm shows how 5G will transform industries like autonomous vehicles

I was recently at a Qualcomm event and one of their examples was showing how autonomous vehicles will be able to perform even better than human beings behind the wheel increasing safety for the driver, passengers and those outside of the car.

They also showed how 5G will transform healthcare and other industries. It will let us visit with medical specialists around the country or in fact the world as if we were sitting together. It will let us, and our physicians track our health and our needs and so much more.

We’ve seen this kind of communications in the movies, but now it is becoming a reality with 5G. You remember how actor Robert Redford was talking with world leaders in his office using this technology in The Avengers movies.

5G smartphones and tablets will rapidly grow in 2020

The first 5G smartphones are just hitting the market. I would say in 2020 we will see plenty of devices jumping into this space as well. In fact, I think we will be flooded with these first generation 5G smartphones and tablets within months.

The transformation from 4G to 5G has several different stages.

–       Stage one is companies like Qualcomm, Huawei and Ericsson who help networks upgrade to 5G.

–       Stage two is how they also help handset makers develop the next generation of smartphones, tablets and other devices.

–       Stage three is how the networks develop their own proprietary features to give them a competitive advantage.

We are still early in this transformation. The pace will accelerate in 2020 and we will see explosive growth going forward.

And this growth will be great news for everyone in the wireless industry.

News organizations will ramp up their 5G coverage in 2020

Expect news organizations to spend plenty of time focusing on this next 5G opportunity in 2020 and beyond. In fact, I think we will be eating and drinking and sleeping 5G every place we turn.

That’s because 5G will change the world.

Just the way the first Apple iPhone and Google Android did a decade ago.

Just the way they took the lead from Blackberry, Nokia, Palm and Motorola virtually overnight.

Just the way the app market exploded with growth from a few hundred apps to more than two million.

That’s the kind of industry reshaping forces we can expect once again. And in fact, it won’t just impact wireless, it will impact other industries like automotive, healthcare, retail and countless others as well.

This is where all the excitement is coming from with 5G.

AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint upgrade to 5G

So, 5G will not just be good news for companies like AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint. It will not just be good news for resellers like Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, and Altice Mobile.

Not only good news for handset and smartphone makers like Apple with their iPhone and iPad, Google with their Android, Samsung with their Galaxy and all the other wireless players.

It will also be great news for companies like Qualcomm, Huawei, Ericsson and others who help networks and handset makers build their networks and devices to reach this next level.

Expect 2020 to be the launch of this activity, growth and noise. Companies must decide the best way to have their voices heard in the industry. This is similar to the way 4G and 3G were launched.

Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Altice Mobile, Apple iPhone, Google Android

It will also be other industries who will transform themselves going forward. Yes, 5G is going to be huge. Much larger and more impactful compared to other levels like 2G, 3G or 4G. They were just wireless stories.

The stories will be coming at us from all these different corners of the industry. Some companies will be winners. Others won’t. Still others will just get lost in all the noise.

It’s up to each of us to sort through all this chaos in the news and the marketplace as customers, workers, investors and the media.

5G will be a real story that will transform the way we all interact and do the business of life whether we are a consumer or a business customer in every area of our lives.

In fact, it will be the focus going forward for many years to come. And we are just at the start of this next 5G wireless revolution.

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