Verizon’s Latest 5G Expansion Is Roadway to ‘Smarter’ World

Published on July 30, 2019

At the end of July, Verizon still leads the race in bringing 5G to mobile phones across the U.S., with the most devices available and a growing number of 5G cities in the US, including its newest 5G cities: Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Washington, DC.

For those who are not aware, switching from 4G to 5G can more than double upload speeds.

There is no doubt that this technology is expanding around the world, and according to Günther Oettinger, a European digital commissioner, “5G will be the backbone of our digital economies and societies worldwide.”

Its higher speed and lower latency are going to be a game-changer. 5G is not 4G plus 1 – speed on your phone will be up to 100 times faster than 4G. Latency (the time for data to be transmitted) will drop from on average 50ms on 4G to 10ms on 5G.

5G seems to be one of the most talked-about news in tech. Whether it’s highlighting the innovative services and technologies, it will enable, or next round of capital investments surrounding it, the all-powerful 5G is the industry’s hopes and aspirations.

I have pleasant, fuzzy visions of cool applications using 5G such as real-time video streaming, self-driving cars, and virtual reality. However, more meaningful impact is possible beyond this, given the power of 5G to solve for challenges affecting people at the base of the pyramid. 5G has the ability to transform the way the western modern society functions, imagine what it can to developing countries?

5G and Healthcare

Broadband access can provide quality healthcare to remote and rural locations. According to World Health Organization, world health statistics for 2017, the period 2005–2015 indicates that around 40% of countries have less than one physician per 1000 population and less than 18 hospital beds per 10,000 people. Tele-health programs can help those in remote areas suffering from terminal or chronic illnesses check in with their healthcare provider remotely over the internet from their home or a facility closer to their home.

Currently, there are remote medical consultation, supervision, interpretation of data and radio-logical images and even remote training and education. In 2001, the first complete remote surgery took place in New York. A surgeon used the Zeus robotic surgical system to remove the gallbladder of a patient in France remotely. Many companies have explored this since then, although the technology is still nascent, remote surgeries could be possible at the higher speed and lower latency of 5G.

Using 5G wearables for monitoring health data like blood pressure, breathing and health rate could receive real-time information when plugged into a central cloud. This means that in the future in under-serviced areas, healthcare spend can focus on 5G enabled video equipment, linkages to skilled surgeons in cities and smart wears. Commuter time of healthcare professionals to remote locations is also freed up.

Integrating Mobile Speed Into Education

Likewise, 5G can allow access to the best teachers in data science and mathematics by video streaming to remote locations and emerging markets. While the need for coaches and facilitators in physical areas are still critical, individual and institutions can have access to video streaming lectures, that can advance personalized learning globally.


Jobs that are notorious for low pay and high risk, such as the mining sector can use drones to reduce manpower in more dangerous parts of a mine. Currently, to reduce fatalities auto-braking trucks prevent collisions, auto-drilling operators work away from the mine and bulldozers are remotely operated. With drone technology, mine-workers do not need to do physical blast clearances. Looking forward with 5G drone and IoT technologies with mining applications can be stepped up and used to better monitor when an area becomes high risk.

The Choice is Ours

Communication, technology and network services are crucial to continued development and economic growth in developing countries. We hope that when 5G arrives (expected from 2020 onwards) its value can be harnessed. At this juncture, we are effectively choosing whether to shape and craft a world where 5G improves the lives of others or a world where 5G widens inequality.

Jesmane Boggenpoel is a Columnist at Grit Daily. She is an author and former Head of Business Engagement for Africa at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. She has served on the boards of various South African and international organizations. She is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s JFK School of Government. Jesmane is also the author of My Blood Divides and Unites.

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