5G and WiFi 6 are key drivers of connectivity and business

03 May 2021 Consultancy.in 4 min. read
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Indian businesses are keener than their global counterparts to invest in the next generation of wireless networks – 5G and WiFi 6. A new Deloitte report highlights how the pandemic has turbocharged the connectivity landscape. 

Theoretically, 5G could reach up to ten times the internet speed of 4G, while WiFi 6 is up to three times faster than previous wireless technology. At this point, these strides in connectivity are no longer about seamlessly buffering YouTube videos. 

Sagar Darbari, a Deloitte India partner, explained: “By offering significant performance improvements – such as faster speeds, increased data capacity, lower latency, greater device density, and precise location sensing – these new wireless technologies are already enabling novel solutions, including autonomous vehicles, precision automation and robotics, telemedicine and telesurgery, immersive retail and entertainment experiences, and augmented-reality workplace collaborations.”

Most Indian businesses increased 5G and WiFi 6 investments after Covid-19

This futuristic paradigm was already on its way before 2020, and Covid-19 and its impact on life and business has cemented digital connectivity as the bedrock of economic activity. With this as a backdrop, Deloitte surveyed over 400 IT executives globally – over 50 in India – for an overview of connectivity advances. 

The core message from the findings is that wireless investments are on the up. Over 70% of Indian executives surveyed reported that Covid-19 has pushed them to invest more in connectivity than they would have without the crisis – a higher share than anywhere in the world. 

Other markets such as the UK, Australia, and Brazil – among others – were also driven to expand their connectivity budget in light of the pandemic. As expected, 5G and WiFi 6 take up the bulk of this spend – roughly 70% and 60% respectively – given their potential to sustain a digitally operated business, now and in the future. 

5G and WiFi 6 edging out other wireless technologies

“Digital agility is the new mantra for striving this pandemic and coming out as a winner,” noted Darbari, highlighting the value of connecting people with technology via advanced wireless networks in driving a successful digital transformation. Indeed, customer engagement and remote working are cited as principal motivations for more investment. 

In three years to come, these next generation technologies will draw an even bigger share of the pie – more than 75% and 65% – while investments into older models will tail off rapidly. And the volume of investment is high too. 

“Our respondents across Indian organisations estimate their three-year spending at around $165 million (excluding spectrum fees) on an average, only next to Japan, making India one of the leading countries with the highest spend forecast,” explained Darbari. 

Most businesses are piloting, deploying or preparing for 5G and WiFi 6

In short, the transition to an age of hyperconnectivity is imminent – even more so than before the pandemic. Businesses are already fairly far along in their adoption journey: per Deloitte’s global survey, around 45% are already deploying or piloting 5G or WiFi 6, while another 35% are preparing for the same. A staggering 98% expect to be using both technologies in the next 2-3 years. 

In India, the connectivity boom is supported by a widespread increase in the online user-base – expected to reach 850 million users by 2025 according to Boston Consulting Group. Higher speeds and more reach are crucial to connecting this vast pool of users, and tapping into the potential monetary benefits.