China Unicom is starting to fund its share of the infrastructure build (link to story below). To service the new requirements of 5G, a “new” architecture needs to be built. For example, the previous 1G to 4G networks were built on cell towers whose capabilities were augmented over time by increasing capacity levels and data speeds. However, in each stage of development the skeleton of the network was basically the same. 5G will be the biggest leap in architecture that we have seen and will require an enormous amount of infrastructure build, estimated at $275bn over 10-15 years. This new infrastructure will provide a larger, more efficient platform for all segments of the economy. Currently, only 30% of the US economy has been digitalized, with the remaining 70% not really leveraged to IT. Ideally, 5G will be a platform whereby the other 70% of economic activities can access internet solutions and hopefully make that part of the economy as innovative as the digital economy. This will be an evolving story over the next decade.
Had a quick chat with Brett on Wednesday. I do hope he is right with his rather contrarian view that we are about to see a productivity explosion. Frankly, I have always found there is a disconnect between the bears on productivity like Robert Gordon and the extraordinary advancement we are making with big data and AI. Is there just a much longer lag than most anticipate? We need a debate on the View from the Peak Expert Series between Dr. Gordon, Martin Bailey and Bret. We have to make this happen.