While the 5G era offers immense long-term potential, retailers need to understand where it can help them in the near term. This starts with understanding how different 5G networks are currently being built from different bands of wavelength spectrum.
Where high-band millimeter wave frequencies offer super-fast data transmission in small areas but can’t penetrate buildings, mid-band frequencies offer a balance of speed and range, covering broader areas with fast speeds. But it’s low-band frequencies, the kind T-Mobile uses in their advanced networks, that can provide significant benefits for distance and signal penetration. No signals travel farther, pass through more obstacles, or provide a more reliable signal for your organization than low-band frequencies—whether employees are working inside or outside.
Forrester is right to point out that “Retail customers will not immediately change their shopping habits because of 5G.” Indeed, the first group to benefit from 5G may be your own employees—from possibilities of finishing inventory with fewer device errors per shift, handling checkouts faster, or receiving shipments at the loading dock with fewer lost items. As retailers and other companies start reporting these behind-the-scenes operational benefits, opportunities to enrich customer experiences will naturally take shape.
It’s not a question of when 5G will matter because it’s already here—and being piloted by countless organizations. The question is: Have you started discussing a 5G strategy for what your customers would like to have now AND in the future?
To learn more about 5G possibilities in retail, check out what Forbes and other industry experts are predicting.