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A study from Juniper Research has calculated that operators will generate $400bn in service revenue from 5G networks in 2024, an annual growth of 32% from 2023, but the analysis also warns that before these riches can be banked, 5G penetration rates will become saturated among consumers, and it will be imperative for operators to launch services over 5G networks that provide value to enterprise internet of things (IoT) users.
Moreover, to accomplish the growth, the Global 5G future strategies market 2024-2028 report identified two key emerging 5G technologies that will impact operators’ ability to attract high-spending IoT users, namely 5G-Advanced and 5G RedCap (Reduced Capacity).
5G-Advanced is designed to bring continuous enhancements in mobile network capabilities and use case-based support to help mobile operators with 5G commercialisation, long-term development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), and network energy savings for a fully automated network and a sustainable future.
It’s set to support applications such as extended reality (XR), and promises monetary opportunities to both consumer markets, with use cases such as gaming and video streaming, as well as enterprises such as remote working and virtual training. Compared with previous mobile generations, 5G-Advanced creates an ecosystem for vertical markets, and ongoing development in this area will continue to bring improvements on traffic throughputs, network coverage, power saving and anomaly detection.
Taking advantage of the evolution of 5G networks to the Standalone (SA) network architecture, RedCap is designed to bring the benefits of 5G to New Radio (NR) consumers, enterprise and industrial devices. RedCap promises to deliver reliability for devices that have low bandwidth requirements, offering many of the advantages of 5G without the cost and complexity of typical 5G services.
Industry experts believe 5G RedCap is the candidate technology best-suited for the needs of the medium-speed use cases. The RedCap standard has been developed to enable the production of smaller and more cost-efficient 5G devices and provide longer battery life, thanks to their reduced complexity.
Juniper was confident that 5G-Advanced and 5G RedCap will enable operators to provide services including extended coverage, increased network efficiency and device battery life to enterprise users.
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The report predicted the benefits of 5G-Advanced and RedCap will be instrumental in the growth of IoT sectors, including automotive and mobile broadband. In turn, it forecasts there will be over 360 million 5G IoT devices using a public network by 2028; a substantial growth from 35 million devices in 2024. It identified fixed wireless access (FWA) as the sector to benefit most from these services, given the large amounts of traffic generated.
“FWA has always been positioned as a key service for 5G network monetisation, but the emergence of 5G-Advanced and 5G RedCap will enable operators to offer similar network conditions as fixed network service providers,” said research co-author Sam Barker. “Operators must leverage their existing billing relationships with consumers to promote their FWA solutions.”