5G is not a White Swan, but a white cue ball

The domino effect of 5G goes far and wide, ultimately helping the overall economy. So do the consequences of not leveraging it right, and fast.

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The domino effect of 5G goes far and wide, ultimately helping the overall economy. So do the consequences of not leveraging it right, and fast.


There are many balls on a pool table – different colors, different values, and different stakes. The one who pots the game commands flair, finesse, and fast thinking – it’s all about aiming right and hitting right.

When a country is juggling multiple balls like healthcare, infrastructure, manufacturing, supply chains, agriculture, utilities, and waste management, meant – nothing could be better than a right-timed cue ball.

5G can drive innovation across various sectors by enabling new technologies like IoT, AI and automation. This can lead to increased productivity and efficiency. - Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI


With all the speed, low latency, and possibilities of applications that it packs, 5G is just that catalyst that the economy needs. Drones would fly across mines, soil images would be captured for farmers, factories would work with intelligent sensors, cities would turn smart with real-time data and small businesses would be able to tap the powers of connectivity and productivity—all with the one-strike click of 5G.

Plus, the powerful surge of India’s platformisation edge, digital public goods, and India stack stars like UPI – indicate that we have just begun the game. The real fun is about to unleash now as India marvels the world with its digital masterstrokes that the world waits to emulate.

5G is an event that is not coming out of the left field. But its ripples are going to cover the economic field in every possible corner. In a world of Black Swans and Gray Rhinos, it could just be the Neon Butterfly-effect butterfly effect. Here’s why.


5G opens the door for industry-specific applications. - Sayed Peerzade  EVP & Chief Cloud Officer, Yotta

Call Shot: Billions and Trillions

As per a PwC report, 5G technology could add US$1.3 trillion to global GDP by 2030. The report also noted that – By providing the basis for ubiquitous ultra-fast broadband, 5G opens up possibilities far beyond the reach of 4G or Wi-Fi 6. More than 80 percent of the economic potential appears to lie in healthcare applications (projected to contribute US$530 billion to global GDP), smart utility management (an additional US$330 billion), and consumer and media applications (US$254 billion more). As to 5G-powered industrial manufacturing, the report pegs the figure at US$134 billion, and for 5G-powered financial services applications, it is US$85 billion.


Another report—this one from Oxford Economics and Qualcomm – pointed out that 5G integration using mmWave spectrum can boost global productivity by 1.7 percent of global percent 2030 – equivalent to 10 percent of global in this period. As many as two-thirds of the executives in this study shared that 5G influenced their decision to adopt IoT or cloud in their businesses.

A country like India will benefit greatly from 5G based FWA solutions as well as the fact that low-income populations can get online. I believe that 5G will take India to the next level. India has the vision, the people and understands the value of modern technology - John Strand, CEO of Strand Consult

Back in 2022, an Analysis Mason-Ericsson report found that fifteen countries (India was also a part of this study) could benefit from GDP growth between 0.3 and 0.46 percent through 2035, with an estimated three-to-seven-fold cost-to-benefit ratio. Interestingly, it also observed that most countries are expected to generate overall economic benefits (GDP) three-to-seven times higher than the incremental cost of extending coverage. Also, 5G mobile broadband could generate a consumer surplus between US$1-10 billion per country, with coverage extension giving 20-30 percent extra consumer surplus.


As Indranil Bandyopadhyay, Principal Analyst, Forrester explains, we have already seen how cheap and accessible data can revolutionize the economy. “If you do not make data cheap, true and lasting digitalization cannot happen. Now with 5G and Edge, solutions and industries will go to consumers and not vice versa (As it happened in many industries where the customer had to chase solutions). Solutions will now find customers and make their lives easy. It will have positive repercussions on the overall economy.”

Sayed Peerzade, EVP & Chief Cloud Officer, Yotta opines that the technological synergy of 5G Edge serves as a foundation for digital transformation initiatives, empowering Indian enterprises to build innovative products, while allowing for scalability and flexibility. “It also opens the door for industry-specific applications, for e.g.: Remote e.g.monitoring in healthcare, or implementation of smart manufacturing processes.”

5G along with Edge and IoT would contribute almost $200 Billion to the Indian Economy. - Biswajeet Mahapatra, Principal Analyst at Forrester


Ask Lt. Gen. Dr. S.P. Kochhar, Director General, COAI and he explains how the impact of 5G on a country’s economy, including India, can be substantial. “The introduction of 5G is expected to spur significant economic growth. It enables more efficient business operations and opens up new markets, particularly in digital services.” He also underlines areas like infrastructure and innovation that gain from 5G-led ripples. “The rollout of 5G requires substantial infrastructure investment. This can lead to job creation and business opportunities in the telecommunications sector and related industries. It also has the potential to transform industries through enhanced IIoT capabilities.”

In the reckoning of Biswajeet Mahapatra, principal analyst at Forrester, 5G along with Edge and IoT would contribute almost US$200 Billion both directly and indirectly to the Indian economy in the next five to six years.

5G’s widespread adoption could attract foreign investments, stimulate job creation, and boost GDP. - Pallav Agarwal, Founder and Director at HTS Solutions


The deployment of 5G in India is expected to have a transformative impact on the economy, echoes Pallav Agarwal, Founder and Director at HTS Solutions Private Limited. “Enhanced connectivity and high-speed data transfer will drive innovation and efficiency across sectors, fostering digitalization and Industry 4.0. This can lead to increased productivity, improved infrastructure, and the growth of emerging technologies. Sectors like healthcare, education, and agriculture may witness significant advancements.”

What’s the Catch? The Scratch

All the potential of 5G cannot transpire unless it has the right infrastructure and policy milieu in place. Also not—if there are gaps in creating applications and use cases that cause cases to tap the magic of 5G.

The effective integration of advanced technologies, such as 5G, Edge computing, and cloud services, relies heavily on a specialized infrastructure design and architecture beyond. The economic impact, as Dr. Kochhar notes, also depends on overcoming challenges like the need for widespread digital literacy and ensuring equitable access across diverse socio-economic groups. He also weighs in how the high costs associated with the deployment of 5G and Edge computing could be an issue. “There might be hesitation from investors, especially in uncertain economic climates. This could delay the rollout and adoption of these technologies. The economic viability of 5G and Edge technologies is a major concern. The cost of infrastructure development and maintenance needs to be balanced against the expected revenue generation and long-term benefits.”

5G is going to be a huge inflection point for the Indian economy – as can be seen in all these crystal balls and whiteboards. “Over the long term, 5G is expected to significantly contribute to a country’s GDP, enhance global competitiveness, and improve the quality of life for its citizens. For India, specifically, this could mean a leap in technological capability and global positioning in the digital economy.” Dr. Kochhar adds.

5G’s widespread adoption could attract foreign investments, stimulate job creation, and boost GDP. By empowering businesses with faster and more reliable communication, 5G has the potential to propel India into a more connected and economically dynamic future, hopes Agarwal.

And it’s happening right now. As we read these words. We must look bravely at both the power and gaps that 5G holds. The game is going to get more interesting, thrilling, and full of new stakes and points. We don’t want to be left behind the eight ball. It is usually black.

By Pratima H