The 5G wireless revolution will soon be underway. Most of Canada’s wireless carriers are expected to be up and running with 5G by 2020, with some already embarking on their own plans for ambitious pilot projects.
The eventual roll-out of new 5G technology should be a huge tailwind for wireless carriers.
Canada’s leading telecoms, including Rogers Communications, BCE, TELUS, as well as smaller players Quebecor and Shaw; Shaw has been making its own moves as of late. All stand to benefit from increased data usage that 5G is expected to bring with it.
Specifically, the new technology is expected to provide carriers and wireless subscribers with significantly (up to 20 times) faster download speeds, increased network capacity, and reduced latency times.
Most expect that what the smartphone did for 4G, 5G will do for mobile streaming technology.
Video streaming technology has already made leaps and bounds in recent years, including significant pushes on the part of both Facebook and Alphabet to invest heavily in video advertising this year. Faster download speeds will unquestionably encourage the consumption of more video content, benefiting the aforementioned two companies, but also potentially providing a catalyst for Canadian content companies.
While Rogers and BCE immediately come to mind in this regard, two media companies whose share prices have languished this year, DHX Media and Corus Entertainment, could sorely use the help of having an additional medium to reach younger audiences, which have been abandoning traditional media outlets in droves.
Meanwhile, experts who closely follow the wireless industry are expecting that the rapidly expanding Internet of Things will be critical to 5G’s success.
While 4G helped to promote widespread adoption of social media platforms like Facebook, Snap, and Twitter, experts anticipate that 5G will be more about connecting devices with people, rather than people with people.
That development could be huge for chip-makers like QUALCOMM, but also Canada’s own software and security company BlackBerry (TSX:BB)(NYSE:BB), which, as part of CEO John Chen’s turnaround plan, has been investing heavily in technology for what it feels to be part of the next revolution in digital technology, the Enterprise of Things.
Then, there’s the big one…
But beyond mobile video streaming and the much-anticipated Internet of Things, the transformative technology to come out of 5G could end up being autonomous driving technology.
Autonomous or self-driving technology is the big “what-if” in this equation, as there is so much uncertainty and so much that remains to be determined.
Given the risks involved if things don’t go as planned, it’s “mission critical” that self-driving technology be error-free at extremely low latency times if its going to be successful.
BlackBerry already has installed its proprietary QNX software in over 120 million vehicles, giving it a slight first-mover advantage as far as software and security is concerned, but the potential ramifications of such a massively disrupting technology like autonomous driving could be a huge opportunity for Foolish investors who are paying careful attention.
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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.
Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Fool contributor Jason Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. David Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (C shares) and Facebook. Tom Gardner owns shares of Alphabet (C shares), Facebook, Qualcomm, and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Alphabet (C shares), BlackBerry, Facebook, Qualcomm, and Twitter. BlackBerry is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.