Due in February 2023.
The global race for 5G has seen countries riding a new wave of mobile technology. 5G is the next-generation mobile communication technology that enables a different level of performance and innovative applications vis-à-vis 4G, which is currently in use by most people in the world. With its debut in 2019, 5G became a reality in several countries, with over 100 commercial launches by the end of 2020.
For some countries, 5G services may seem to be in a distant future; for others, 5G is the initiation into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With estimated impact of 5G on global GDP in the trillions of US dollars and global job additions in the millions in the next decade, 5G has the potential for immense impact on job creation, productivity, and competitiveness. When 5G has been fully implemented, its disruptive potential threatens to make irreversible the digital divide between early and late adopters.
Should countries that have yet to turn off 3G services be concerned? Emerging markets have unique characteristics that set them apart from frontier economies: rapid growth in mobile connectivity, nascent markets for fixed infrastructure, and a younger population. These factors are poised to increase adoption of mobile broadband and demand for better connection and services. In other words, 5G may be a powerful force that will help countries leapfrog technologies and accelerate towards meeting their Sustainable Development Goals.
If so, what are the necessary steps for developing countries to prepare for the next technological wave and to ensure equitable distribution of the gains from 5G? The potential dual nature of the impact of 5G on developing countries calls for an accurate diagnosis of its implications as well as its risks. This report explores the latest innovation in mobile technology, the tremendous opportunities that could be reaped from adopting 5G, the costs and challenges associated with 5G, effective management of its associated risks, and policy considerations for developing countries to most effectively deploy and utilize the 5G network.