How Is COVID-19 Affecting 5G?

COVID-19 is officially a global pandemic. As countries around the world employ increasingly drastic measures to slow the spread of the virus, industries are trying to adapt to an ever-changing environment. One of the industries most affected by COVID-19 fallout is telecommunications companies.

As more people work remotely and more students are forced into online learning, broadband capacity is going to be tested in new ways. This influx of broadband use is going to make the benefits of 5G even more clear to the general public. Moving forward, it’s not unreasonable to expect heavier investment into the creation of national 5G networks. 

5G networks deliver speeds that older 4G/LTE networks can’t even tough. A true high-band 5G network can offer speeds upwards of 1 Gbps over wireless signals. Not only that, but true 5G networks are better suited to maintaining service with more people concurrently connected. 

The need for more broadband capacity will show the value of 5G networks, but COVID-19 is disrupting supply chains globally. As more manufacturers are forced to delay production, the entire wireless industry is going to find itself falling behind. That could wreak havoc on the planned transition into a 5G-connected world. 

Major conferences where providers were expected to unveil new devices were canceled. Now that most states have a ban on large gatherings, it’s not likely that any of those conferences will be rescheduled anytime soon. That leaves tech companies in an interesting predicament. Do they announce their products online to much less fanfare and maybe lose out on millions of dollars worth of marketing exposure? Or do they try to wait out the virus and hold their elaborate conferences then? It’s a question each company is going to have to answer for themselves.

As this pandemic continues to spread there will be an even bigger disruption to manufacturing and supply chain. Since broadband connections are vital at a time like this, those systems will likely be prioritized. The companies that are going to be the most affected are going to be those that make consumer facing electronics. That means smartphones, laptops and internet-connected devices. 

Experts are already expecting that Apple will be forced into postponing the announcement of 5-capable devices by at least a few months as a direct result of supply-chain issues. The good news is that countries like China, Japan and Korea are the ones that have COVID-19 the most under control at this point. Since those companies house some of the largest tech manufacturers in the world, that should help get supply chains back to normal more quickly. 

As crazy as it sounds, it is worth pointing out that there is absolutely no scientific evidence linking 5G networks to any sort of virus. In fact, 5G has recently been cleared by radiology watchdogs to be completely safe. 

COVID-19 is going to have a profound effect on different industries around the world. It’s going to force more people to rely on internet access for their livelihood, and that’s going to cause more people to realize how valuable a true 5G network is. 


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