An EY study has found that 5G investment is set to soar from 15% of enterprises today to 69% by 2023. But less than half (48%) are confident they can transition to using 5G to support IoT applications.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 enterprises, found that of those enterprises investing in 5G today, 67% are either engaging in trials or are in discussion with suppliers, rather than moving to the operational phase. Enterprises said knowledge gaps (75%) and a perception that 5G was simply an incremental progression of 4G (69%) were holding them back. While 35% worried about the relative immaturity of 5G, and 37% said that the problem of integrating with legacy technology was a barrier to adoption.

“Enterprises are aware that 5G can fundamentally reshape their organisations…but anxieties persist around technology integration, maturity and cybersecurity,” said Tom Loozen, EY’s Global Telecommunications Sector Leader. “To overcome this inertia, 5G vendors need to articulate a more compelling vision of the opportunity, while enterprises need to educate themselves on the game-changing possibilities that go beyond efficiencies alone.”

The study found that enterprises saw a collaborative approach to 5G adoption as being essential. Seventy-nine per cent said they needed external support to generate robust 5G use cases, but 60% said they were struggling to identify the ‘right’ 5G vendor. The ‘right’ partner, according to 77% of enterprises, is one that can deliver business-oriented outcomes, rather than just offering cost savings.

According to the study, US enterprises are leading the way on 5G adoption, with 19% currently investing in the technology compared to 13% in Europe and 10% in Asia-Pacific. But Asia-Pacific is set to overtake Europe, and close the gap on the US, in the next 12 months, with 43% of Asia-Pacific enterprises saying they will invest in the technology compared to 48% of US enterprises and 38% of European enterprises.

The study also revealed a strong vertical pattern of adoption, with the healthcare sector (61%) and financial services (58%) leading the way over the next three years.

EY surveyed 1,012 enterprises in September and October 2019 from a variety of industry verticals and geographies. The full findings of the study can be downloaded from



Posted by Teresa Cottam

Teresa is the Chief Analyst at Omnisperience and has over 25 years' experience in the telecoms and technology markets. She is an expert on SME and enterprise telecoms, and has considerable vertical market expertise. Her research focus lies in helping B2B telecoms firms become more commercially successful by better understanding and meeting their customers' needs. She is a judge of the GSMA Global Mobile Awards (GloMo's) for customer experience and enterprise innovation, and for the UK Cloud awards. You can follow her on Twitter @teresacottam

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