Friday, 23 August 2019 11:52

Global 5G network infrastructure forecast to reach US$4.2 billion in 2020 Featured

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Worldwide 5G wireless network infrastructure revenue will reach US$4.2 billion in 2020 - an 89% increase from 2019 revenue of US$2.2 billion – according the latest forecast on the market from analyst firm Gartner.

And in addition Gartner forecasts that investments in 5G New Radio (NR) network infrastructure will account for 6% of the total wireless infrastructure revenue of communications service providers (CSPs) in 2019, and that this figure will reach 12% in 2020.

“5G wireless network infrastructure revenue will nearly double between 2019 and 2020,” said Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner.

“For 5G deployments in 2019, CSPs are using non-stand-alone technology. This enables them to introduce 5G services that run more quickly, as 5G NR equipment can be rolled out alongside existing 4G core network infrastructure.”

In 2020, CSPs will roll out stand-alone 5G technology, which will require 5G NR equipment and a 5G core network, which Gartner says will lower costs for CSPs and improve performance for users.

Gartner forecasts that 5G rollout will accelerate through 2020, with 5G services launching in many major cities in 2019 and 2020.

Gartner says services have already begun in the US, South Korea and some European countries, including Switzerland, Finland and the UK – and CSPs in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, Sweden, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have announced plans to accelerate 5G network building through 2020.

As a result, Gartner estimates that 7% of CSPs worldwide have already deployed 5G infrastructure in their networks.

And although consumers represent the main segment driving 5G development, Gartner says CSPs will increasingly aim 5G services at enterprises – with 5G networks expected to expand the mobile ecosystem to cover new industries, such as the smart factory, autonomous transportation, remote healthcare, agriculture and retail sectors, as well as enable private networks for industrial users.

Gartner says equipment vendors view private networks for industrial users as a market segment with significant potential.

“It’s still early days for the 5G private-network opportunity, but vendors, regulators and standards bodies have preparations in place,” said Fabre.

“Germany has set aside the 3.7GHz band for private networks, and Japan is reserving the 4.5GHz and 28GHz for the same.

“Ericsson aims to deliver solutions via CSPs in order to build private networks with high levels of reliability and performance and secure communications. Nokia has developed a portfolio to enable large industrial organisations to invest directly in their own private networks,” Fabre said.

“National 5G coverage will not occur as quickly as with past generations of wireless infrastructure,” he said.

“To maintain average performance standards as 5G is built out, CSPs will need to undertake targeted strategic improvements to their 4G legacy layer, by upgrading 4G infrastructure around 5G areas of coverage.

“A less robust 4G legacy layer adjoining 5G cells could lead to real or perceived performance issues as users move from 5G to 4G/LTE Advanced Pro. This issue will be most pronounced from 2019 through 2021, a period when 5G coverage will be focused on hot spots and areas of high population density.”

Gartner says 5G services will launch in many major cities in 2019 and 2020 as the 5G rollout accelerates and services have already begun in the US, South Korea and some European countries, including Switzerland, Finland and the UK – and with CSPs in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, Sweden, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates announcing plans to accelerate 5G network building through 2020.

As a result, Gartner estimates that 7% of CSPs worldwide have already deployed 5G infrastructure in their networks.

Gartner also says that CSPs will increasingly aim 5G services at enterprises.

“Although consumers represent the main segment driving 5G development, CSPs will increasingly aim 5G services at enterprises. 5G networks are expected to expand the mobile ecosystem to cover new industries, such as the smart factory, autonomous transportation, remote healthcare, agriculture and retail sectors, as well as enable private networks for industrial users,” Gartner observes.

“Equipment vendors view private networks for industrial users as a market segment with significant potential. It’s still early days for the 5G private-network opportunity, but vendors, regulators and standards bodies have preparations in place,” Fabre said.

“Germany has set aside the 3.7GHz band for private networks, and Japan is reserving the 4.5GHz and 28GHz for the same. Ericsson aims to deliver solutions via CSPs in order to build private networks with high levels of reliability and performance and secure communications. Nokia has developed a portfolio to enable large industrial organisations to invest directly in their own private networks.”

Fabre also says that national 5G coverage will not occur as quickly “as with past generations of wireless infrastructure”.

“To maintain average performance standards as 5G is built out, CSPs will need to undertake targeted strategic improvements to their 4G legacy layer, by upgrading 4G infrastructure around 5G areas of coverage.

“A less robust 4G legacy layer adjoining 5G cells could lead to real or perceived performance issues as users move from 5G to 4G/LTE Advanced Pro. This issue will be most pronounced from 2019 through 2021, a period when 5G coverage will be focused on hot spots and areas of high population density,” Fabre concluded.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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