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5G Could Stop Sputtering Video Calls and Help the Economy Bounce Back

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You’ve probably heard a lot about 5G technology lately.

There have even been rumors – which FYI, this CNN article says are “baseless”– that it fueled the Covid-19 pandemic.

What 5G can be connected to is the creation of faster networks – and we mean really fast – between 10- and 100-times quicker than what we have today with 4G, according to a study by GSMA, a trade group that represents mobile operators. 

But 5G is expected to be more than just a speedy network, and it’s not just wireless tech companies like Qualcomm that are saying this. 

Goldman Sachs Research says 5G’s speed and reach could be game-changing, and have an impact that includes automating factories and boosting the safety of autonomous vehicles.

5G may also have a role in climate change solutions. This piece in The Atlantic says that with 5G’s faster data transmission speeds, internet traffic will use less power.

But Covid-19 has delayed things.

The pandemic threw a wrench into 5G’s progress in two ways: First, events that were planned to promote and facilitate the adoption of 5G globally were called off. Device makers are also experiencing manufacturing delays of 5G-enabled products. 

But if the sputtering video calls during lockdown were any indication (there’s always that one colleague who’s talking in slow-motion), we could certainly benefit from a faster network. 

Plus, 5G adoption could increase GDP worldwide. Shortly before Covid-19 struck, the Capgemini Research Institute released a report that said 5G manufacturing plants could add between $1.5 trillion to $2.2 trillion to the global GDP over the next five years. Goldman Sachs researchers estimate the total market opportunity for fixed wireless could hit $75 billion by 2026.

Covid aside, is anything else standing in the way? Well, there is the matter of infrastructure. Although a variety of businesses like device makers and factories could benefit from 5G, info from the World Economic Forum indicates the US needs more infrastructure to truly benefit. 

The international organization’s report recommends that states within the US should uniformly adopt the existing national standard set by the FCC to build out support for 5G. It also says we can make the transition to 5G smoother by unifying “disparate regulatory and permitting processes at the state and local levels” and fast-tracking local permitting processes.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.