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Ovum Predicts 24 Million 5G Mobile Subscribers by the End of 2021

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 (4:56 pm) - Score 391
5g mobile broadband

We might not have an agreed standard, commercial hardware, spectrum allocations or any real understanding of how much future 5G based Mobile Broadband technology will cost to roll-out. But Ovum still appear confident that there will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021.

The roll-out, at least according to political and regulatory targets, is set to get underway in 2020 and the new research suggests that North America and Asia will lead the charge with more than 40% of global 5G subscriptions at the end of 2021.

Apparently 5G will be available to 20 markets initially, with the vast majority of subscribers being concentrated in the US, Japan, China and South Korea, where major operators have revealed aggressive timetables for launching 5G services.

Indeed Nokia and Verizon have jointly already developed a working 5G network and hope to launch it in 2017, albeit initially on a limited scale (here). Samsung in South Korea has also made similar progress and they’re now working with SK Telecom (SKT) to build a 5G pilot network by the end of this year.

Mike Roberts, Ovum Practice Leader, said:

“The main use case for 5G through 2021 will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US. Over time 5G will support a host of use cases including Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardized 5G services through 2021.

5G is at an early stage and there is a high degree of uncertainty around 5G deployment and adoption, including significant upside and downside risks. Ovum’s analysts provide a clear view on the impacts this technology will have on the market, and will be updating our 5G forecasts every six months as part of our broader forecasting of the telecoms, media, IT, and related markets.”

However Ovum have excluded the early Nokia and Samsung developments from their forecast because they will not be based on networks or devices that comply with 5G standards, which is understandable since there aren’t any standards.. yet. Ovum defines a 5G system as needing to be based on and complying with 3GPP 5G standards, beginning with parts of 3GPP Release 15, which is scheduled to be finalised in 2018.

The best 5G speeds will be delivered by using higher frequency spectrum, such as in the 28GHz band or higher, but this in turn will require a new approach to infrastructure deployment. It’s also likely that more traditional lower frequencies may still have to be used outside of big towns or cities and at this point we’d expect 5G speeds to drop closer to 4G levels.

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