How Will 5G Evolve in 2021?


All over the globe, telecommunications companies are racing to grow their 5G networks with faster speeds and coverage. The technology has already arrived in many regions, including Europe and the U.S., and will continue to expand. In the last months of 2020, bids for 5G spectrum in the U.S. spiraled to $70 billion. As these networks continue to grow, experts predict 5G to enable an array of revolutionary technologies.

“As the first generation of 5G-capable smartphones wind their way into consumers’ hands, we are already seeing how 5G raises the bar versus older networks in terms of performance,” Dan Hays, a Principal at PwC, tells Forbes. “In 2021, we expect to see this extend to services such as cloud gaming, where more realistic, interactive, multi-player games can become a reality on mobile devices. We also expect to see other new categories of services, such as augmented reality, be enabled by the responsiveness and bandwidth offered by 5G connections. Finally, high-speed 5G connections are already being used to expand access to broadband services in homes. This should continue to grow quickly as the technology becomes more widely available.”

What else can we expect from 5G in 2021? Here’s what experts predict, according to Forbes:

  • As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, 5G will be used in conjunction with the Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain to track and ensure preservation of vaccines. Additionally, the need to socially distance will help speed up the transition to IoT. 5G’s low latency and high connectivity could boost the adoption of IoT.
  • With more people working from home, a greater number of enterprises will adopt 5G and edge computing in order to improve data storage and connectivity. Additionally, enterprises will begin to increase their focus on cyber security. This is a crucial factor that many groups overlooked in their rush to adopt 5G.
  • Wearable devices will become more popular thanks to improved computing power available in 5G devices. 5G will also provide faster two-way communication between devices. Additionally, 5G technology and artificial intelligence will drive the development of applications that use 3D, augmented reality, and 360 degree technology used in gaming and advertising.
  • There’s likely to be a greater demand for regulation over 5G applications, as technology such as facial recognition pose a mounting risk to privacy.

5G Will Have a Major Impact on Manufacturing and Automation

5G will evolve in many ways in 2021, but perhaps its biggest impact will be on manufacturing and automation.

“Businesses in rural counties will also adopt 5G for new applications such as real-time location systems, asset tracking, inventory management, wearables, building automation, and robotics for overall cost savings,” Craig Sutton, the Manager of Advanced Manufacturing Innovation at John Deere, tells Forbes. “Given the foundational infrastructure is advancing with technologies such as 5G, we expect to see more applications which can simultaneously collect larger amounts of data and leverage Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. We also foresee an increase in autonomous mobile robots which will assist worker productivity.”

While these are all predictions, experts have little doubt 5G will have a profound impact in 2021 and beyond.

5G Networks

As technology continues to evolve toward 5G, it’s vital for technical professionals and industry leaders to understand how to deliver on the 5G vision while meeting consumer demand for higher communication speeds. Is your organization ready? Consider training your team with 5G Networks, a three-course program from IEEE and Nokia.

Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist today to learn more about the program.

Interested in learning more about 5G for yourself? Visit the IEEE Learning Network today!


Triggs, Robert. (28 December 2020). Here’s what’s coming next for 5G in 2021. Android Authority. 

Taulli, Tom. (26 December 2020). 5G: What Can We Expect For Next Year? Forbes.

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