The shape of things to come:

A 5G Future

The buzz surrounding 5G and its implications for businesses around the world can't be ignored.

And it only stands to get louder. But beyond the noise, business leaders are faced with serious questions on how they intend to prepare for a 5G future. Among them are the potential opportunity and expected impact of 5G, the current state of the technology itself, expected business outcomes, current roadblocks to implementation and available resources.

TEKsystems surveyed more than 300 IT leaders in a variety of business sectors to better understand their attitudes toward the impending 5G revolution, what concerns they had and what steps, if any, they were taking to ready themselves.

Because it’s not a question of whether organizations will get there—it’s when. Organizations who wish to leverage the most prized features of 5G will need to understand the ecosystem and how 5G will enable their products and services.

5G will be truly transformative. But navigating a 5G future won’t be easy.

Are you ready to initiate smarter, more epic strategies to gain speed, reliability and accessibility?

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5G has the potential to join a very exclusive club—the handful of technologies throughout history that transform industries across every sector of the economy...redefining work, elevating living standards and having a profound and sustained impact on our global economic growth.”

~ Ronan Dunne EVP and Group President, Verizon Wireless

Flying cars. Robot maids.
Push-button homes.

icon of flying car

History is full of images of what we have imagined our future will look like. The promise of 5G technology has fired our imaginations anew with visions of autonomous cities and in-home holograms and remote-controlled surgeries.

Despite the momentum, it's hard to separate the facts from the science fiction. How much can we do with 5G? When will we be able to do it? Who stands to benefit? Who might be left behind? At this point, there are no clear answers. Only a mix of optimism and uncertainty.

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But one thing is certain: Making good on the promise of 5G will require enormous effort from both the public and private sector. And as with any great undertaking, preparation is key.

Seizing Opportunity

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Fortune favors the bold.”

~ Latin proverb

While the vast majority of business leaders acknowledge that 5G will prove valuable to their enterprise, those actively planning to capitalize on it are in the minority.

Overall, business leaders are aware that 5G will create valuable new opportunities.

Perceived Value of 5G:

Significant opportunity


Moderate opportunity


Slight opportunity


No new opportunity


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However, opinions are mixed when it comes to the type of impact 5G will actually have.

5G is defined as All Respondents Engineering/Core Network Teams
An evolution of existing infrastructure 54% 69%
An enabler for digital business 34% 38%
A replacement for 4G 29% 29%
A new business model enabler 25% 50%
A completely new network 20% 13%
An incremental revenue enabler 10% 25%
A cost-saving production platform 9% 13%
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Line-of-business leaders are far more aggressive with their 5G plans than their counterparts in enterprise IT.

No 5G initiative in next 24 months Initiating/Scaling 5G strategies by 2020
Stage of 5G Maturity:
Planning/ Designing Selecting/ Implementing Refining
17% 4% 8%
28% 12% 16%
Enterprise IT 70%
Line of Business 44%
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Not surprisingly, telecom and media leaders are outpacing other industries in their 5G preparations.

Stage of 5G Maturity:

Nothing planned









Exercising Caution

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Wise men say only fools rush in.”

~ Elvis

The constant onrush of new technology has left more than a few bruised and battered souls—and businesses—in its wake. Predictably, many leaders have chosen to adopt a wait-and-see attitude toward 5G.

The majority of enterprise IT leaders have no current 5G plans in place and don’t plan to implement any in the foreseeable future.

No 5G initiative in next 24 months
5G initiative in next 24 months
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Top among business leaders’ concerns is the need to modernize their technology to capitalize on 5G-enabled opportunities.

Level of Concern:

Highly concerned


Moderately concerned


Somewhat concerned


Slightly concerned


Not concerned


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Most businesses also worry that their current workforce doesn’t have the skills necessary to take on 5G.

Level of Confidence:

Highly confident


Moderately confident


Somewhat confident


Slightly confident


Not confident


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Privacy and data security are also key concerns among business leaders.

Level of Concern:

Highly concerned


Moderately concerned


Somewhat concerned


Slightly concerned


Not concerned



Help Wanted

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Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.”

~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Given the litany of challenges—some known, some as yet undefined—that 5G presents, businesses will need new skills and expert advice to build a successful implementation strategy.

Business leaders have a wide variety of concerns when contemplating their approach to 5G.

Challenges to Implementing 5G: Rank
Outdated enterprise technology landscape (i.e., legacy applications, infrastructure, etc.) 1
Measuring business impact / clearly defined use cases 2
Hardware deficiencies (i.e., devices that require upgrades to leverage 5G) 3
Lacking right skills/expertise 4
Geographic prioritization (i.e., where 5G will be available, rural markets vs. metro markets) 5
Delays in standardization 6
Managing risk, security and privacy 7
Regulatory compliance 8
Timing of enablement 9
Immature partnerships with vertical industries 10
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Most leaders believe they will see an increase in the amount of third-party collaboration necessary to realize the full potential of 5G.

Changes in Collaboration:

High increase


Slight increase


No change


Slight decrease


High decrease



Experience the power of true partnership.

Whether you're finalizing your 5G strategy or wondering what steps to take first, TEKsystems can help. With more than 35 years of experience guiding companies through technological transformations, we're ready to take you into the future—and beyond.

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