Ovum said operators will start to launch 5G networks in 2020 and predicted that there will be services in more than 20 markets with 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2021.
Europe is expected to account for 10 per cent of subscriptions, while North America and Asia will be home to 40 per cent of the total. Indeed, Ovum said the "vast majority" of 5G subscriptions will be concentrated in the U.S., Japan, China, and South Korea. The Middle East and Africa will then account for the remainder.
Mike Roberts, Ovum practice leader, said the main use case for 5G will initially be enhanced mobile broadband services.
"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 standardised 5G services through 2021," Roberts said.
Ovum defines a 5G subscription as an active connection to a 5G network via a 5G device. 5G is further defined as a system based on, and complying with, 3GPP 5G standards, beginning with parts of 3GPP Release 15, which is scheduled to be finalised in 2018.
"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," Roberts added.
Ovum said it does not include services that do not comply with 5G services in its figures, implicitly criticising operators that say they plan to launch 5G services before standards are complete.
Meanwhile 5G announcements continue to flow from all quarters. Nokia, for example, said it would "make the first ever demonstration of a 5G network running on commercial platforms as part of its showcase at 5G World from Jun. 29-30 in London.
The Finland-based vendor also sees 2020 as the year when full 5G services will be launched.
- see this Ovum release
- see this Nokia release
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