5G verticals: never has a collective noun been so uncollective

The English language has endless fun with collective nouns. A herd of buffalo is an obstinacy, a group of owls is a parliament, and a superfluity of nuns also appears in dictionaries. But maybe our eyebrows should be raised still further by a new entry to the canon: 5G verticals.

| Martin Sims

Collective nouns are a handy way of describing things that are the same: crows are all the same species and a group is sometimes called a murder.

But are 5G verticals all the same? Only in a limited sense. They are potential new markets for the next generation of wireless technology, but their characteristics and needs are very different.

Extremely low latency is important for remote surgery but largely irrelevant for Internet of Things applications; quality of service is vital in industry but not crucial for enhanced mobile broadband for consumers, and some factory applications want private networks while others would prefer a public service from mobile operators.

The diversity of 5G verticals’ needs was one theme to emerge from the Spectrum Summit at LS telcom earlier this month.

But this diverse group is also banding together to lobby more effectively for their shared interests. Industry users of 5G now have their own trade body, while the Netherlands has a group for critical communications services using wireless broadband.

The German regulator’s proposal for C-band licences targeting industrial uses indicates that this new approach may be succeeding. It will be interesting to see the reaction of countries where manufacturing is less economically crucial.

But returning to the original topic, why does English have such strange collective nouns? Apparently, they mainly come from the fifteenth century…


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