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5G service revenue to reach $73bn by 2021, $600bn by 2026

Revenue is set to increase around 5G, but Juniper Research says providers need to improve core network functions to reduce strain from increased traffic and to meet the challenges of mobile data demands

As virtualised environments generate new efficiencies leading to the advancement in the roll-out of next-generation networks, global revenues from 5G services are set for a huge spike over the next five years, growing by as much as 250%, according to a survey from Juniper Research.

The 5G monetisation: business models, strategic recommendations & market forecasts 2021-2026 report offers insights into the future of 5G development and strategic recommendations to network vendors and network operators on best practices.

It was based on an evaluation of strategies, key market drivers, technological challenges and strategic recommendations for stakeholders across key market services. These included automotive connectivity, fixed wireless access, mobile commerce services, the internet of things (IoT), mobile entertainment, mobile gaming, remote healthcare services, smart city services, and smart home solutions.

Fundamentally, the study predicted a 5G Klondike over the next five years, with global revenue from 5G services reaching $73bn by the end of 2021, rising from $20bn last year, and will then rocket to over $600bn by 2026. It said that 5G will represent 8.5% of operator revenue by the end of 2021, as operators seek a return on their significant investment into the technology.

The advanced data capabilities of 5G standards will drive adoption in areas such as mobile gaming and immersive reality, which will proliferate as geographical coverage and device support increase over the next five years, which Juniper said operators must prepare networks for.

Looking to advise operators on their forward strategies, the report recommended that they should focus efforts on virtualising core network functions to reduce the network strain arising from the increase in data traffic from 5G adoption.

Juniper predicted that operators will face challenges in meeting the mobile data demands arising from 5G networks, and forecast that cellular data generated by 5G connections will rise to 1.5 million petabytes globally by 2026, representing 214 million hours of 4K video streaming.

The report predicted that over 80% of 5G data generated will be attributable to mobile broadband connections. To support this growth, it recommended that operators increase network virtualisation and network orchestration, and urged accelerated roll outs of fibre back-haul infrastructure that can handle high data generation to reduce the threat of traffic congestion over 5G mobile broadband services.

“Given the varying requirements of these 5G use cases, network orchestration tools that enable the real-time management of network performance are key to providing a service that meets the demand of 5G subscribers and enable operators to fully maximise 5G service revenue,” said report author Dave Bowie.

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