GSMA: 5G will be dominant mobile tech in USA by 2025

5G will be the main mobile technology in the United States by 2025, according to industry body GSMA, which predicts this high adoption rate will ensure the country will be a leader in next generation networks.

The US, along with South Korea and Japan, is expected to be one of the first nations to stage a commercial launch of 5G, with all four operators – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – all committing to doing so by 2019.

The first networks may even go live in 2018 for fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband, but a mobile service will have to wait for the arrival of compatible smartphones the following year.

5G in the USA

A new GSMA report entitled ‘The 5G era in the US´ states there will be 100 million connections by 2023 and this figure will nearly double to 190 million by 2025 as consumers flock to the faster speeds, lower latency and higher capacities promised by 5G.

Further enhancing the US’s claim is Silicon Valley and its role in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The GSMA says the arrival of 5G is coincidental and could aid the development of these transformative technologies.

However, it is likely that 4G and 5G will coexist for several years and the industry believes that regulators must ensure a favourable regulatory environment for the market to thrive.

It wants a coherent spectrum release strategy for the short term and beyond, regulations on infrastructure building – especially with regards to small cells – and sharing to be eased, and a long-term policy environment that will encourage investment. These calls are similar to those made by operators in other countries, including in the UK.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning an auction of 24GHz and 28GHz millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum that will be suitable for FWA later this year.

The first commercial 5G networks in the UK are expected to go live in 2020, but there are hopes that Britain’s startup ecosystem and research credentials will ensure it will also take a leadership role.

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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.