ABI Research predicted that mobile broadband operators will reap 5G revenues of $247 billion (€218 billion) in 2025, with the top markets including North America, Asia-Pacific and Western Europe.
The research company also noted that "5G will be a fast growing cellular technology, most probably faster than preceding generations including 4G," according to MD and VP Joe Hoffman.
"The technology migration over the next few years will mean the continued decline of 2G. 3G and 4G will grow in many markets but 5G will generate new use cases and market revenues," Hoffman said.
As is always the case with new technology developments, multiple challenges still remain. ABI Research believes that obstacles include spectrum fragmentation, standards development, coverage range, availability of devices, capex/opex, and the development of use cases "that ensure profitable outcomes from the unique competitive advantages of 5G."
In the early deployment stage, the leading 5G use case is enhanced mobile broadband, closely followed by critical and massive machine type, the research company said.
"While smart antenna technology can extend coverage reach, it will mean a small cells deployment. ABI Research forecasts 8.5 million small cells to be deployed by 2020, setting in place the infrastructure for a rapid 5G millimetre wave rollout. And in-band backhaul is a new tool to solve connectivity issues," ABI added.
Network operators, vendors, and standards bodies are expected to finalise technical details concerning the millimetre wave by 2020, with rollout ramping up afterwards.
5G developments were certainly a major theme at this year's Mobile World Congress (MWC). For example, FierceWireless:Europe highlighted how operators from different regions are racing to be first to launch 5G, rejecting the notion that they are trailing U.S. and Asian operators.
At the same time, Adrian Scrase, CTO of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), told us he was cautious on the ambitious launch dates being touted by operators including Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and NTT Docomo in Japan.
- see this ABI Research release
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