Research has indicated that there will be 1.4 billion people connected to 5G services by 2025, rising from one million connections in 2019.
The figures were part of a report by Juniper Research that predicts the annual growth rate of 5G telecoms services will be 232 per cent in 6 years. The report is titled 5G Market Strategies: Consumer & Enterprise Opportunities & Forecasts 2017-2025.
One of the conclusions in the report was that for 5G (or fifth generation mobile telecoms networks) to rival fibre broadband, then it must be competitive in real life situations and meet all expectations, particularly those used as part of business systems.
In its forecast, the study predicted that the largest number of 5G connections will be in the USA, China and Japan by 2025. Together, these three nations will account for around 55 per cent of all 5G connections in the world. It is thought that North America will yield some 30 per cent of 5G Internet of Things (IoT) business by 2025, comprised of automotive services and a high number of broadband connections of the fixed wireless variety.
The report also indicated that revenues from IoT in the commercial realm may not fulfil expectations. The researchers at Juniper concluded that business systems generated from digital health and smart cities could be disappointing as a result of duty cycles in name only and low volumes of data required.
The report suggested that telecoms operators should look into new business system models that would keep operating costs to a minimum. This would include managing the costs of software oriented solutions to monitor the needs of individual connections to 5G IoT services.
Shortfalls in expected revenues would probably be derived from 5G connections to wireless fixed broadband, with income per connection expected to stay above $50 (around £37) until the year 2025.
One of the report’s authors urged operators to test 5G networks extensively. The researcher recommended putting the services to work in real life scenarios, at scale, to ensure that they were competitive with the speeds of fibre connections. 5G networks must be reliable and extremely fast, and those which delivered on these variables would be likely to command the biggest ARPCs (Average Revenue Per Customer). Obtaining the best ARPCs would, of course, help operators to offset the expenses of investing in 5G services sooner rather than later.
Use of mobile data has exploded during the past five years. In 2015, it rose by 74 per cent. Driving this is the rise of streaming services, and app use that relies on fast data connections. When 4G runs out of juice, 5G will take up the mantle. Apple is already testing iPhones based around 5G technology. 5G will be faster, because it will divide data into bands, and then bring them together to pool the bandwidth.
The Government has committed more than £750 million towards the development of 5G services, but as yet, there is no launch date for 5G in the UK. The UK is ranked 54th globally for LTE (4G) connections, so the speed of 5G is still some way off.