Dan Mondor, quoted, is CEO of Inseego, a US$200 million IoT specialist. Inseego sells a high-end Wi-Fi router to Verizon for the 5G network and works closely with Verizon. Even he couldn't think of any volume applications today that needed 5G. He expects that future applications will change that.
Shane Eleniak is a Senior Vice President at Calix. His NG-PON2 and AXOS software are crucial to Verizon's 5G network. Their state-of-the-art GigaSpire Wi-Fi 6 router (pictured) has exceptional reach and even talks to you through Alexa. He confirmed to me that today's 4G can meet all present needs, unless there is an overall shortage of capacity.
Connected cars, remote surgery, and AR/VR/gaming are often cited as future demand-drivers. All are likely years away from having a large impact.
Respected analyst Linley Gwennapp believes claims that connected cars must have 5G are "Ridiculous. ... There will be lots of areas with no 5G network coverage and if my car is on Verizon and yours is on AT&T the connection isn’t going to be instantaneous anyway." I note thousands of autonomous cars are active today. There will probably be millions on the road before 5G is widespread.
Until Edge networks are widespread, AR/VR and gaming latency will include the connection to the cloud servers, so will always be slower than the ~10 milliseconds of the likely 5G networks. In addition, very few people will have 5G connections for years. A game designer would lose most of her audience if a game is based on 5G speeds. Gamers will enjoy the snappiness of 5G, so there is potential here. I'd suggest the best way to drive demand for low latency will be to persuade gaming companies to build dedicated editions for 5G. Gaming giant Tencent was persuaded by the government to invest in China Unicom. That would be a natural match.
Very few surgeons operate from the beach, where 5G latency would make a difference. Nearly always they will work where there is a landline, often a medical facility with a high-speed fibre connection. In that case, 5G speeds are irrelevant.
Surgeons on the beach?