5G is still barely scratching the surface of its potential

(Image credit: Google)

GlobalData says it will take time to realise the full potential of 5G networks but believes there will be 3.9 billion connections by 2026 as operators build out their infrastructure and service propositions.

Although the faster speeds of 5G will improve mobile broadband services, greater capacity and lower latency will enable entirely new, revolutionary applications. These include Virtual Reality (VR), AI robotics, and real-time analytics.

For the first time, businesses will be able to connect mission-critical applications to a mobile network.

Global 5G connections

Other studies have shown that consumers are willing to pay a premium for 5G services that provide additional value, while 5G will also allow operators to enter entirely new markets – particularly when serving businesses.

To drive adoption, operators are bundling additional services with 5G tariffs, while they are upgrading their core infrastructure to support new use cases. Once this happens, operators will be free to pursue new revenue opportunities and benefit from the cost efficiencies that 5G affords.

Overall, analysts believe 5G will generate $690 billion in service revenues by 2026, with average revenue per user (ARPU) reaching $14.15 – double that of 4G.

“Although we have not yet seen all that 5G is capable of in early deployments, the technology has a multitude of future opportunities for telecom operators,” said Lynnette Luna, Principal Analyst with GlobalData.

“Not only will capacity bring down the per-bit cost for carriers, the basic cost efficiencies that 5G brings will enable operators and developers alike to create new applications for the technology as it becomes to mature and develop.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.