Global 5G revenues to increase by 250% in 2021

(Image credit: EE)

Global 5G service revenues are set to increase by 250% in 2021 as mobile operators start to see the benefit from their investments in next-generation networks.

Juniper Research says revenues will rise from $20 billion in 2020 to $73 billion this year, with 5G representing 8.5% of operator income.

The figure will increase to $600 billion by 2026 as new applications and use cases provide greater demand for data from businesses and consumers and open up new revenue streams.

5G revenues

However, analysts warn that this demand will also place additional pressure on operators to ensure their infrastructure can handle this anticipated growth in traffic. It is thought that cellular data generated by 5G connections will reach 1.5m petabytes by 2026 – driven by data-intensive applications such as mobile gaming and mixed reality.

Specifically, carriers have been urged to accelerate the virtualisation of their core network functions – a move that will provide the agility and capacity to handle the strain of exploding demand – as well as in orchestration capabilities and fibre backhaul.  

“Given the varying requirements of these 5G use cases, network orchestration tools that enable the real-time management of network performance are key to providing a service that meets the demand of 5G subscribers and enable operators to fully maximise 5G service revenue,” said Dave Bowie, author of the report.

A separate study by the research firm earlier this year predicted the total number of 5G connections will reach 3.2 billion by 2026 - a major increase from the estimated 310 million around today.

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.