‘Evolution or revolution?’

Impact case of the month: harnessing the true potential of 5G

October 27 2021

How can the continued development of 5G give businesses an edge within Europe? The 5th generation of mobile networks is not only boosting the consumer market by offering a faster network, but is specifically providing opportunities for industries to take full advantage of interconnectivity. Good examples are e-Health, self-driving cars or smart devices in the home. In doing so, Europe can become a leader of economy and productivity. To increase the chances of success, the roll-out of 2G and its successors 3G and 4G provide valuable lessons for the future, that can also be applied to 5G. Dr. Ir. Wolter Lemstra examined various future scenarios for 5G and how they affect Europe’s leadership opportunities.

“To avoid being overtaken left and right, you have to develop a vision of the future,” Lemstra explains. He examined the different generations of mobile technology, their introductions and the market adaptation that followed. With his research he managed to connect relevant stakeholders and make an important contribution to the political debate on the future of 5G.

Market momentum

In his study, Lemstra describes two possible future scenarios for 5G. The first is “Evolution”, where the development follows the pattern of previous generations and is aimed at the consumer market. The other – and extreme – scenario is “Revolution,” which involves a clean break from trends and which, according to Lemstra, is the path towards leadership. Why? “Because it leverages the capabilities of standardized APIs, Application Programming Interfaces, that enable business end-users to access the 5G network to configure their own services on that 5G network. This is made possible by network virtualization as the architectural foundation of 5G. These open and uniformly applied APIs enable market entry for a large number of virtual mobile network operators that serve particular vertical or economic sectors with customized features and qualities of services. They provide market momentum that enables leadership on 5G in Europe.


Lemstra fed the debate by linking technological and market development to regulation at the European level in his study, by outlining the scenarios and using cases. He also gave several keynotes across Europe and generated attention for the true potential of 5G. The first signs of impact are visible in Japan, where the Ministry of Communications used recommendations from his study in developing policy. In addition, the European Parliament included a contribution from Lemstra in the interactive infographic to make expert information on 5G accessible to a wider audience. 

October 26 2021

An impact case includes a research portfolio around a central theme, with a focus on the reach and impact of the study. The impact cases are easy to read for a wide audience, demonstrate how Nyenrode is strengthening its connection to professional practice, and how faculty members are finding practical solutions to relevant and current challenges faced by professionals in the industry.

The impact cases are classified into the categories Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Stewardship and Educational.

All the cases can be found here.

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