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5G revenues of $247bn predicted in 2025

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  • New market projections from ABI Research
  • 8.5 million small cells to be deployed by 2020
  • Enhanced mobile broadband the leading early use case

ABI Research projects that mobile broadband operators will see 5G revenues of $247 billion in 2025 with North America, Asia-Pacific, and Western Europe (to no-one’s great surprise) being the top markets.

“5G will be a fast growing cellular technology, most probably faster than preceding generations including 4G,” said Joe Hoffman, Managing Director and VP 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.”

At the early stage of deployment, the firm believes that the leading 5G use case will be enhanced mobile broadband, closely followed by critical and massive machine type communications. Enhanced mobile broadband coverage will be best achieved in urban areas that require faster speeds and greater capacity, and while smart antenna technology can extend coverage reach, it will require a small cells deployment. ABI Research forecasts 8.5 million small cells to be deployed by 2020, setting in place the infrastructure for a rapid 5G millimetre wave rollout.

A number of mobile operators in North America and Asia-Pacific have recently announced projects and plans to roll out their own 5G initiatives. Verizon, NTT docomo, KT, and SK Telecom have formed the 5G Open Trial Specification Alliance, to get pre-standardised equipment out in the market faster, hoping to help and shape the standards process (Watch out for an exclusive TelecomTV video feature on the Alliance next week). In addition, Verizon Wireless’s acquisition of XO Communications’ fibre network business brings strategic access to licensed millimetre wave spectrum with which to deploy 5G.

“The 5G ‘network of tomorrow’ will, over time, evolve to embrace cellular, WiFi and wired connectivity, in addition to millimetre wave,” added Hoffman. “It will be better, cheaper, greener, and incredibly high-speed wireless data access for the mass market that will cause business innovation to explode.”

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