5G Connectivity in Rural Cities

The New Year will bring a major milestone for the mobile industry as global carriers will begin rolling out 5G service to millions of consumers. In addition to an influx of international carriers such as Telus Mobility, Entel and China Unicom, the four major U.S. carriers (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint) have announced plans to launch 5G stateside. This presents the opportunity and challenge to connect people who live in rural areas to the new 5G network. It’s a unique challenge for large mass countries like as the U.S. where, according to American Communities Survey, people that reside in metropolitan areas are 10% more likely to have broadband internet access than those who live in rural areas.

While the overall goal of the industry is to bring this emerging technology to the masses, ensuring 5G is accessible to rural areas must remain a top priority as 5G is guaranteed improve the communities’ overall quality of life. Connectivity through 5G and IoT will be able to aid in catastrophes, epidemics and natural disasters, improve infrastructure as well improve economic growth and create more streamlined productivity.

This 5G era will disrupt our society, most notably our rural areas, in countless ways beginning in 2019 and beyond, including:

  • 5G on Telemedicine, Remote Surgeries: Healthcare is one of the most polarizing, critical issues, and the onset of 5G will provide more services in hard-to-reach areas with remote surgeries turning science fiction into reality. 5G will enable doctors to “operate” on patients that may be thousands of miles away with the network’s low latency in tow. Additionally, 5G will pave the way for more patient monitoring technologies that will aid chronically ill patients that are limited in mobility.
  • 5G on Agriculture: Mobile IoT, as a result of 5G, will aid in increased crop production, crop quality and livestock management through enhanced monitoring of soil conditions, improved use of pesticides and fertilizers, animal welfare, and weather conditions. In addition, 5G will pave the way for connected drones to become common use, enhancing crop spraying, land management and aerial surveillance. And when crops are ready to head to market from these urban areas, connected vehicles will be able to increase efficiency of distribution through optimal routing and monitoring of temperature control of food in transit.
  • 5G on Shopping: In rural areas, packages require extra time to arrive to customers. 5G will speed up this process by enabling drone delivery, which could help packages arrive in as little as an hour for a low cost.

The arrival of flexible, high performance 5G networks along with the increasing integration of artificial intelligence and the IoT will enable continuous market opportunities for rural areas and beyond, ultimately connecting everyone and everything to a better future.

Watch GSMA’s Head of North American Operations, Ana Tavares Lattibeaudiere, discuss more of the above on how 5G will transform our world through enterprise, education and more.