The enormous interest in 5G is fundamentally driven by the need for a versatile network standard that accommodates the need for improved mobile broadband connectivity, massive IoT and critical communications. More mobile users, increased mobile data traffic and new data-heavy technologies have spurred a demand for higher data and transmission speeds and improved accessibility. The increased demand for improved cellular networks is not only driven by increased data consumption but also new emerging technologies such as autonomous driving and industrial automation which incurs a need for more reliable networks.
Key industry drivers
Increased data consumption
The mobile data traffic continues to grow at an astonishing pace. According to Ericsson’s latest mobility report, the data traffic increased by 52% between Q2’2017 and Q2’2018. Furthermore, the data traffic is expected to continue increasing during the coming years following higher consumption of data-heavy content such as high-resolution videos. The increased mobile data traffic, therefore, brings a need for a cellular network supporting greater data rates, efficiency and capacity.
While LTE could offer hundreds of Mbps, 5G is expected to bring data rates in Gbps. This is enabled by increased spectrum capacity, which will be achieved by communicating on higher spectrum bands (millimeter wave). New innovative mmwave solutions are based on the use of radio waves with millimeter wavelength, which has an advantage in communicating at higher frequency ranges that make it possible to achieve greater transmission capacity. As 5G is expected to bring improved data capacity, it is merely not interesting concerning enhanced mobile broadband but also fixed wireless access (FWA) networks. FWA could complement or a substitute to fiber to the home connections where the physical last-mile cable is replaced with wireless connectivity.
New emerging technologies
The advantages of an improved network technology standard are not limited to the telecommunication industry. The increased demand for improved connectivity is also driven by new emerging technology that imposes needs of greater transmission speeds, lower latency, and reliable connections to accommodate data-heavy transmissions and critical applications. Examples include autonomous driving, massive machine-to-machine connections (IoT), industrial automation (industry 4.0), and AR/VR.
The deployments are still is an early stage as initial trials just have started where the advantages of 5G currently are being demonstrated by equipment vendors and operators. The worldwide commercial launch is expected first somewhere around 2020, and the largest deployments are estimated to occur beyond 2023. Rollouts of new mobile communication networks require enormous investments, implying that it offers substantial growth opportunities for companies in the forefront.