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Illustration:Sarah Grillo, Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The first businesses to invest in and take advantage of 5G will be heavy industries, not consumer brands.

The bottom line: 5G will boost a range of technologies, from transportation to virtual reality, but the initial impact will be on industrial and other business uses rather than consumer applications.

Heavy industries are likely to invest in and take advantage of 5G first, according to Lux Capital partner Bilal Zuberi.

  • Oil fields, for example, could use the tech to boost their collection of data from sensors.
  • Other applications could include manufacturing (automotive, electronics, and even textiles), and agriculture, such as using sensors to monitor crops or livestock, says Promus Ventures partner Gareth Keane.
  • Companies working on self-driving tech will also look to use 5G in their development, as it can help take some load off the cars’ computers, adds Keane.
  • Functions like route planning could be done remotely and streamed to the car using 5G, though critical tasks like executing a turn or identifying road elements will likely remain in the car.

Eventually, 5G will be widely available to consumers via mobile devices. It could mean better and faster stream media on their devices like video, for example, or gathering health data from smartwatches.

Yes, but: Some experts are skeptical that there will be a widespread consumer demand for 5G just as an upgrade to existing uses. “I don’t think that’s a super compelling argument — I’m pretty happy with what I have right now,” says Keane.

Consumer adoption won’t be widespread unless and until a “killer app” for 5G emerges, Stacey Higginbotham, a journalist and expert on 5G and connectivity tech, tells Axios.

  • The iPhone (and smartphones more broadly) had that function for 4G because consumers wanted to take advantage of connecting to the Internet to use a multitude of apps and consumer rich media, she says.
  • Though 5G will make much of this faster and better, its benefits may not outweigh the costs for consumers with today’s mobile apps.

Go deeper

Birx: Trump White House could have reduced COVID deaths by 30 to 40%

Deborah Birx, then-coronavirus response coordinator, speaks during a news conference in the White House last November. Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Trump, told a House subcommittee this month that the Trump administration could have prevented tens of thousands of deaths during the early stages of the pandemic.

Driving the news: "I believe if we had fully implemented the mask mandates, the reduction in indoor dining ... and we had increased testing, that we probably could have decreased fatalities into the 30% less to 40% less range," Birx said in closed-door testimony to the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, according to excerpts provided by the panel.

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

3 hours ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.