Why Apple spent billions to upgrade to 5G — services


Carriers are beefing up their 5G infrastructure even as Apple has introduced iPhones that support the standard. Data rates are improving rapidly as infrastructure is built for high-bandwidth services, new connected hardware, and more.

No wonder Apple spent billions to get on board.

We are far from the 5G peak

We’re a long way from the 5G peak — many countries have little or no 5G broadband infrastructure and those that do may not yet be able to provide consistent coverage. You can’t rely on finding a 5G connection outside specific built-up areas just yet. Different countries and networks support different generations of 5G, with new ones coming online and additional wireless spectrum gradually becoming available.

But overall, the rollout is headed in the right direction.

Signal open provides an overview of the current situation. Its data reveals that download speeds have almost doubled in 5G markets. In Germany, download speeds increased from 22.6 Mbps to 48.7 Mbps; in Saudi Arabia (a country that invests heavily in smart cities, Industry 4.0 and IoT), speeds have increased from 13.6 Mbps to 31.1 Mbps. Some countries, mainly in the APAC region, are getting ahead: South Korea reached 129.7 Mbps.

Countries where 5G services offer the fastest connection speeds are ripe for service evolution. Why work in an office when you can grab your iPad Air (coming soon) with 5G) and work under a tree? The combination of fast mobile broadband and powerful hardware underpins a services opportunity that we haven’t really begun to exploit.

The service opportunity

As so often in the evolution of the Internet, games lead the way. South Korea emerged as the best place to play them based on internet speed, the researchers said.

It is worth thinking about what games are. The most advanced games can be considered high-bandwidth mobile services, which means that the countries that offer the best gaming experiences should also be able to handle the most advanced next-generation enterprise services.

They must also be able to tolerate exciting new ideas, such as augmented/virtual reality in motion, semi-autonomous vehicles, smart roads and connected urban infrastructure.

The OpenSignal report also examines network congestion. He notes that countries where 5G has become more available have also become more capable of handling large amounts of traffic.

The evolution of complementary technologies, such as SDN (Software-Defined Networking), NFV (Network Function Virtualization) and network slicing are also helping to reduce congestion, especially for remote businesses that depend on mobile broadband services. bandwidth.

“Vendors have been promising for years that 5G would enable augmented reality (AR), edge computing, multiplayer gaming, industrial automation, and a myriad of Internet of Things (IoT) use cases” , The Open Signal report says. “But these gradually advancing 5G standards are why the full impact of 5G has not arrived and vendors’ 5G claims often have yet to be met.”

New markets will open

While the benefits of 5G look promising today, as the infrastructure evolves and additional spectrum becomes available, the full scope of the opportunity will emerge. This opportunity may become more visible in developing markets.

Africa, for example, is widely seen as a huge economic opportunity this has been held back by the lack of broadband infrastructure. A combination of satellite, fixed broadband and 5G could enable large parts of the continent to be bought online.

The continent is hungry for it. In 2015, about two-thirds of Africa’s population owned mobile devices. And mobile broadband speeds have accelerated in nearly every African country since 2019, as operators roll out 5G or increase 4G availability ahead of 5G launch.

But the ability to deliver broadband speeds to Africa will be equally critical for communities in any country that does not yet have access to fixed broadband. Across the United States, at least 6% of the population do not have access to fixed broadband services. While most of these areas also have to wait for carriers to roll out 5G, there is at least some hope of bringing them online.

Apple sees an early advantage

When the first 5G services were activated in 2019, Apple critics rushed to blame the company for being “late” to adopting the standard in its devices. However, all (?), the company needed to do was hand over $1 billion to Intel for its modem development technology and reach an out-of-court settlement with Qualcomm to introduce the first 5G-enabled iPhones sometime later in 2020.

The iPhone 12 has become the the best-selling 5G smartphone in the world, despite the pandemic. Carriers have strongly backed Apple to bring these smartphones to market as they seek to get customers hooked on 5G. This device accounted for 24% of all 5G phones sold globally in 2021. The iPhone 13 continues that momentum, with billions yet to upgrade and it has become a go-to tool for enterprise professionals. .

Apple may be in the lead today, but Samsung, Lenovo, OnePlus, Xiaomi and others are also benefiting as the standard rolls out. Apple has obviously put a lot of effort into preparing to exploit the emerging opportunities of 5G – think of how its consumer-focused services can so easily exploit mobile. It would also be set to introduce new categories of hardware (cars, glasses, wearables) that simply wouldn’t be possible without mobile broadband to connect them.

I guess that’s why Apple spent so much money to be able to put 5G in iPhones, iPads and, one day, Macs.

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Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

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