02 May 2018

5G connection forecasts grow with deployment announcements

5G connection forecasts have risen, even before the first standardized 5G commercial deployments, according to 5G Americas, the industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas.

By 2023, there are 1 billion forecast subscriptions for 5G technology (Ericsson, CCS Insight); however, recent analyst announcements indicate a ramping up of the early years in predictions including 2020 through 2023. This shows a positive trend in the deployment of 5G technology and may be partially driven by the robust nature of cooperation and collaboration for this next generation wireless revolution.

Based on a variety of forecasts from industry leaders and analysts, the measurable start of 5G subscriptions has moved forward considerably due to several industry accomplishments over the past six months. A key element has been the early completion by the 3GPP standards organization of the Release 15 Non-Standalone 5G specifications in late 2017 that allows the wireless ecosystem of vendors to build 5G infrastructure equipment and develop the needed chipsets and other components for devices.

Other key contributions in the trend for increased forecasts for 5G connections are the announcements by leading U.S. operators AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, which promise mobile 5G services later this year or early next year. In addition, Verizon will be launching fixed access 5G services this year. According to analyst firm CCS Insight, the U.S. will have 100 million 5G connections in 2022.

“The outlook for 5G is growing in its optimism and shortening its timeline toward network buildouts and commercial launches of service,” noted Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. “At the 5G New Horizons Wireless Symposium that we are hosting in May, international operator leaders will present on the outcome of their trials and visions for 5G.”

In April 2017, Cisco forecast 25 million 5G-capable devices and connections by 2021; analyst firm Ovum currently predicts 84 million by 2021; CCS Insight increased their predictions this month by 50 percent (over their October 2017 forecast) to 280 million 5G connections in 2021, with 60 million 5G connections expected in 2020. Ovum expects 11 million 5G connections in 2020. By 2023, both CCS and Ericsson forecast 1 billion 5G connections worldwide.

Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications and Analyst Relations for 5G Americas stated, “The overall trend for various forecasts is more optimistic perhaps reflecting earlier, than originally anticipated, operator deployments.”

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