5G revenues will reach $600bn by 2026

(Image credit: EE)

5G networks will account for three quarters (77%) of global mobile operator revenues by 2026, with demand for consumer and businesses services driving adoption.

A report from Juniper Research predicts 5G revenues will reach $600 billion within five years, music to the ears of operators rolling out 5G infrastructure and new services in a bid to increase income.

Researchers say this growth is being driven by attractively-priced tariffs and the availability of devices despite the ongoing chip shortage caused by the pandemic.

5G network growth

The shortage is affecting all industries, not just mobility, but it appears as though the premium end of the market is less affected than the mid and lower segments.

Operators have been urged to use the radio and core capabilities of their networks, which are increasingly software-defined and virtualised, to develop new services that go beyond the mere provision of connectivity.

One particular opportunity cited by the report is multi-device subscriptions that include not just smartphones, but also tablets, laptops and mobile routers.

It is also predicted that by 2026, the number of cellular IoT devices will reach six billion – overtaking smartphones for the first time. Of course, all of these applications and devices will drive further growth in data traffic – and provide plenty of opportunities for operators to reap the rewards from their investments.

“Device vendors are capitalising on faster networks to add mobile connectivity to new consumer devices, and operators must respond by enabling users to access 5G across multiple devices under a single subscription; allowing subscribers to conveniently manage data.”

A separate study by Ericsson last week suggested there would be 600 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year.

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.