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5G 'Not Living Up to Its Promise in the Channel'

Digital 5G on smartphone

Wi-Fi 6 might be offering business leaders more value than 5G right now. That’s what Abundant IoT CEO Vince Bradley tells Channel Partners.

Bradley, who recently founded Abundant IoT after a long tenure at WTG and AppSmart, will talk about 5G opportunities in a session at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo on Nov. 2. He and Philip Walker, CEO of Network Solutions Provider USA, will host a conference session called "5G Channel Trends: Beyond the Hype and Into Reality," which will help partners gain a better understanding of where the mobility market stands.

We asked Bradley a few questions about 5G and the opportunity it presents for channel partners.

Channel Partners: Is 5G living up to its promise in the channel?

Vince Bradley: As one of the most hyped platforms of all time, 5G is integral to the digital economy. mmWave is promising in terms of its speed, but sub-6Ghz is really all that’s deployed nationally to the consumer right now. While sub-6Ghz has a widespread market presence and is faster than 4G, it runs at speeds far slower than mmWave. While mmWave is exceptionally fast, it still has significant reach limitations. As a clear answer to the question: No, 5G is definitely not living up to its promise in the channel.

5G has created some opportunities for partners to re-engage existing customers and break into new areas. However, mmWave development cycles are scheduled into 2023. 5G will inspire new use cases and applications that we haven’t even thought of yet and is thus a very promising technology for entrepreneurs. The ubiquity of mmWave will be the key to much of this development. 

Abundant IoT's Vince Bradley

CP: What is one 5G use case that partners can tap into?

VB: MSPs will be indispensable for 5G deployment. One great use case that is already in play is campus and enterprise environments. Specifically, take manufacturing: 5G is opening up access to new data sources and advanced communication between machines. Some hot applications for 5G include IoT, robotics, AI, smart cities, autonomous cars, health care, automotive, financial, services, entertainment and media industries.  For example: large distribution centers fulfilling daily products (i.e. groceries) will need robotics, autonomous vehicles, etc.

CP: Any aspect of tech alliances partners should pay attention to?

VB: The biggest benefit with strategic alliances in 5G is the ability to scale. For example, AT&T, a pioneer on mmWave, tapping the Microsoft Cloud and its flagship "Azure for Operators,” enables partners much faster growth with their customers in today's data rich ecosystems. To stay on the forefront of tech alliances and associated information and benefit from them, partners should look to tap industry alliances, such as Cradlepoint, 5G programs for industrial applications, open and interoperable 5G wireless, and others.

CP: Is anything else you want to add?

VB: One of the biggest issues for business owners is the lack of a clear ROI on 5G technology. Coupled with that is in-building signal issues. Industry leaders might do well to consider whether Wi-Fi 6 should be prioritized over 5G. Faster, more reliable and low latency communications offer new marketing strategies and a greater opportunity to approach customers. Domination of the technical and deployable landscape of 5G will be in the large enterprise space for the next few years. Private industries that can build out their own 5G network will be the first to reap the benefits.

Channel Partners Conference & Expo, 5G, Internet of Things (IoT)