AI Could be the “Killer APP” That Fuels 5G Growth

Can AI “unlock” the full potential of 5G connectivity?

Telecommunication companies have poured billions of dollars into 5G technology, and for good reason.

Mordor Intelligence recently reported the worldwide 5G market is expected to crest $28 billion in 2024 and will reach $61 billion by 2029, representing a 16.8% compounded annual growth rate.

Yet the buzz in telecom circles is that 5G isn’t resonating with the public as much as technology engineers may have thought.

That’s where artificial intelligence may help the 5G market thrive with easier-to-use mobile apps and user-friendly software development tied to the telecom market.

“Every application that exists will have generative AI as part of its user interface going forward,” said Chris Penrose, Nvidia’s global head of business development for telecom in a recent interview with “This is really an opportunity, whether you’re bringing Infrastructure as a Service, you’re bringing Training as a Service, Inferencing as a Service, or even AI applications.”

Penrose believes 5G developers can leverage AI and produce great benefits doing so. “It’s an opportunity powered by generative AI that the telcos can really lean into and hopefully tap and get some additional revenues to make it to pay for that investment and leverage that 5G infrastructure in a way that we all want it to be leveraged,” he says.

A “Killer App” for 5G

Penrose believes that while telecom companies aren’t selling AI-powered apps short, as plugging into them more aggressively can lead to big revenue generation – eventually.

“There have been significant investments in 5G, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into a significant lift in telco revenues,” he said. (“Telecoms) need to find ways to ensure that they’re getting that return on the investment.”

As 5G was being developed, telecom engineers talked about a “killer app” for the new technology. “We’re actually at an interesting point now because I believe that generative AI has the potential to be that killer app, and that’s just coming on the scene,” Penrose said. “You’re starting to see more and more telcos thinking about how to begin to play in the GenAI space.”

Telcos typically have data centers themselves, yet many of them aren’t full data centers. That’s a problem.

“Now telecom companies have an opportunity to access to space and power, which is really one of the big things you need here when running big infrastructure programs,” Penrose told “This is a very specific type of build you need to do to unlock generative AI.

“In order to achieve performance in this realm, you need the ability to stitch together hundreds or thousands of GPUs to train the largest models, and that doesn’t necessarily look like a standard deployment,” Penrose adds. “Consequently, we’re encouraging them to lean in. It’s a decision that telcos have to make; they have to say that they want to be on that journey.”

The move makes good sense as telecom companies have relationships with governments and with business customers, Penrose added.

“The real question is this – can they lean in and actually be on the front side of this (AI) wave?”

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