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According to research by ABI, mobile operators should prepare to welcome a big paycheck in 2025 as 5G is expected to generate $247 billion revenue. This growth will be fuelled by the North America, Western Europe, and Asia-Pacific markets.
“5G will be a fast growing cellular technology, most probably faster than preceding generations including 4G,” says Joe Hoffman, Managing Director and Vice President at ABI Research. “The technology migration over the next few years will mean the continued decline of 2G. 3G and 4G will grow in many markets but 5G will generate new use cases and market revenues.”
The exact technical specification of 5G is yet to be finalised, but standards bodies are expected to have this completed by 2020. Not long after, the rollout will be cranked-up to max as vendors and operators compete to deliver 5G services to customers.
It will be better, cheaper, greener, and incredibly high-speed wireless data access for the mass market
As with the case of every generational rollout, the major obstacles will be less about the actual technology and more about issues surrounding it such as spectrum fragmentation, coverage range, availability of devices, and CAPEX/OPEX. Above everything, there must be clear use cases that ensure profitable outcomes from the unique competitive advantages of 5G.
Helping to power the IoT will constitute a major use of 5G, as millions of devices require connectivity that is widespread and reliable. In order to facilitate the availability demand, ABI Research forecasts 8.5 million small cells to be deployed by 2020 to place the infrastructure required for a rapid 5G millimeter wave rollout.
“The 5G Network of Tomorrow will, over time, evolve to embrace cellular, WiFi, and wired connectivity, in addition to millimeter wave,” concludes Hoffman. “It will be a better, cheaper, greener, and incredibly high-speed wireless data access for the mass market that will cause business innovation to explode.”
Several mobile operators in North America and Asia-Pacific have announced projects and plans to roll out their own 5G initiatives. For example, Verizon Wireless, NTT DoCoMo, KT, and SK Telecom formed the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance. In addition, Verizon Wireless’s acquisition of XO Communications’ fiber network business contributes strategic access to licensed millimeter wave spectrum.
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