Mobile operators hoping 5G will be the answer to declining traditional revenues will be boosted by new research which claims income from next generation network services will reach $300 billion (£230bn) a year by 2025.
The first commercial 5G networks are now live in the US, offering Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband in a number of major cities. More will be launched in 2019 to coincide with the availability of the first compatible smartphones.
Juniper Research anticipates that global operator 5G revenues will be around $984 million next year before increasing at an annual rate of 160 per cent to the $300 billion figure six years later.
By this point, 5G will account for 38 per cent of all billed revenues despite only accounting for 14 per cent of total connections.
This can not only be explained by the new services that 5G will enable, such as industrial applications, connected cars and enhanced mobile broadband, but also because 5G technology lowers the cost per bit.
Juniper says that in order to achieve these savings, operators should continue to invest in their core networks – especially with regards to virtualisation. This will allow operators to move functions around their network closer to customers and enable the more rapid provision of new services that will allow them to capitalise on changing customer demands
It is thought that 5G networks will generate 955 exabytes annually by 2025, making this investment all the more critical.
“5G for home broadband services will be the biggest driver in growth of cellular traffic after initial launches,” said Sam Baker, one of the authors of the report. “By 2025, the average 5G home broadband connection will generate over 430GB of data per month.”
It appears as though operators are heeding these warnings. It is thought that 5G R&D spend will reach $60 billion (£46bn) by the end of 2019, with half of that figure spent on trials in preparation for launches in 2019.
That will be music to the ears of network equipment manufacturers who are also hoping to gain from demand for 5G.
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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.