The economic value of 5G has been driving competition between countries to be the first to adopt it.
That's the view of Magnus Ewerbring, Ericsson's Asia Pacific CTO, who has been a witness to the race to 5G in Asia in recent years.
He says the "very high" interest from Asian and global business in 5G is a clear sign of the competitive advantage business leaders believe it can deliver.
He notes that while it makes little difference to consumers if they aren't among the first to access 5G, that's not the case for industry.
"It is more severe if local industry adopts 5G later than other countries, because they will mature later into the new technology," he said in an interview with Light Reading.
By being first to deploy 5G they will be "better adapted" than those yet to experience it.
Ewerbring's experience at the coalface reflects the wider industry view of the crucial importance of enterprise 5G.
A GSMA survey of 2,000 operator execs found that most believe that the success of 5G would depend on its ability to integrate with industry verticals.
One part of business interest in 5G is from global enterprises that want to have a consistent connectivity environment wherever they operate, Ewerbring says. The other is from local industry that wants to be efficient and competitive.
He says Ericsson's go-to-market strategy for enterprise 5G is to work with operators, citing the partnership with Telefónica to deploy a private network for Mercedes Benz in Germany.
Ewerbring says a lot of the value from business use cases is often unanticipated and arises from deploying and testing out the technology. In virtually every vertical use case in which Ericsson has been engaged "we've seen gains which we didn't initially calculate."
One of the early examples was in a mine, where the mining company deployed 5G to monitor air quality.
"It's obviously important in a mine to have fresh air. By being able to better monitor it you can improve safety and also reduce the energy needs because you're more accurate in your control of the flow."
Ewerbing says the introduction of 5G in Asia over the past 12 months has been smooth, most likely a result of the ready supply of new devices at a variety of price points.
He says Ericsson's priority in Asia this year is helping operators launch 5G, with a flurry of debuts scheduled in the coming months, including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines.
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading