Forecast looks bright for 5G despite Huawei uncertainty

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Despite uncertainty, CCS Insight expect 5G to adopt faster than 4G and comprise 20% of all mobile connections by 2025

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25 April 2019 | 0

The future of 5G is expected to be bright, according to CCS Insight, who predict that the adoption of 5G cellular technology globally will happen faster than 4G.

The research firm forecast that 5G network connections will exceed 1 billion by 2022, beating 4G to that milestone by a year. By 2025, this figure is expected to reach 2.8 billion.

While several mobile operators are claiming to be the first to launch 5G, with Swisscom in Switzerland, KT Telecom in South Korea and AT&T and Verizon in the US all making moves, Kester Mann, director of consumer and connectivity at CCS Insight, says there is still a long way to go.

“Despite an avalanche of recent 5G “firsts”, widespread network deployment will take years to achieve. Early launches represent an important milestone for the industry, but we should consider them as just the beginning of a long journey”.

But there is more hindering a hasty takeover with limited availability of enabled smart phones. Compared to 4G, a greater volume of 5G ready devices are emerging, but high retail prices and limited support for frequency bands make them less desirable. In 2019, CCS Insight expect less than 10 million 5G smart phones will be sold.

By 2020, this is all expected to change, when all major Android smart phone makers will have 5G-enabled phones on the market. Further, a 5G-enabled iPhone is now on the cards for 2020, thanks to the recent agreement between Apple and Qualcomm.

Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight’s vice president of forecasting, says, “Fierce competition coupled with subsidies and incentives in certain markets will ensure rapid price erosion of 5G devices in 2020. This will facilitate fast adoption of 5G by smart phone users”.

By 2020, all major operators will be offering 5G services to benefit from capacity gains and to lower costs in meeting user’s insatiable appetite for data.

Yet, the future of 5G is not so certain, especially for European operators. The big question they still need to know is to what extent will they be permitted to use Huawei’s 5G equipment? Vodafone, BT, and other large European operators have been warned that, without the equipment, 5G in Europe could be delayed more than a year.  

China is expected to be the largest 5G market by 2020, and to host 37% of all global 5G connections by 2025.

In terms of the 5G opportunity in the Internet of Things (IoT), Martin Garner, senior vice president of Internet at CCS Insight, says, “As big as it is in the long term, we expect it will take time to grow; 5G needs a couple more years to be fully ready for industrial IoT. Even then, the industrial IoT world is relatively cautious, and there will also be some substitution from other technologies”.

By 2025, cellular IoT will account for less than 2% of global 5G connections.

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