Global 5G market forecast to hit 3.2bn connections by 2026


Wednesday, 11 August, 2021

Global 5G market forecast to hit 3.2bn connections by 2026

The total number of 5G connections will reach 3.2 billion by 2026, rising from 310 million in 2021, according to a study from Juniper Research. To maximise the monetisation of this growth in connections, the study predicts that operators will accelerate investment into standalone 5G networks to best position their services to manage future capacity. Standalone 5G networks leverage next-generation technologies, such as network orchestration tools, to enable operators to monetise data-intensive use cases, like remote health care and mobile gaming.

The study identified automating network orchestration tools as a key priority for operators in monetising their 5G services. These tools allow operators to adapt network conditions based on AI analysis of traffic; providing more bandwidth to connections that need it, and maintaining service performance. By 2026, the report predicts that the average revenue per 5G smartphone connection will fall to $17 globally, from $29 in 2021, significantly impacting operator revenue. To alleviate this decline, the report recommends that operators leverage orchestration tools to retain a network’s highest throughput and lowest latency for connections that require it. By utilising this approach, operators can justify charging a premium to these prioritised connections over other 5G connections, and slow the declining average revenue.

The study found that over 60% of global 5G connections will be located in the Asia Pacific region by 2026. Network orchestration technologies, alongside mmWave frequencies that enable data-intensive 5G services, will be a key driver in creating an ecosystem in this region, allowing mobile subscribers to leverage 5G networks for emerging mobile services, while maintaining network performance.

“Operators in China, Japan and South Korea have all implemented lower subscription costs, which have accelerated 5G adoption, thus enabling these subscribers to explore novel services that require 5G connectivity,” said Dave Bowie, co-author of the report.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/areebarbar

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