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Recent takeaways on 5G: the IHS Markit perspective

05 December 2018 IHS Markit Technology Expert

5G is the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications, and industry players of all stripes—including telecommunications carriers, mobile device manufacturers, and internet service providers—are ramping up efforts to make 2019 the year of commercial 5G deployment.

Even so, the path to full 5G adoption is complicated and still evolving with many questions remaining unanswered. For instance, how far will 5G spectrum be standardized across regions to achieve scale economies on all network components? And what is the opportunity to grow the total available market for operators, manufacturers, and vendors?

What is clear is that the enhanced mobile broadband usage scenario will come with new application areas and requirements—in addition to existing mobile broadband applications—for improved performance and an increasingly seamless user experience.

In keeping with the rapidly unfolding developments in the 5G landscape, IHS Markit provides ongoing coverage of this next-gen technology. Below are our most recent offerings with insights and analysis on the subject.

Stephane Teral, executive director for research and analysis in mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, said in a Market Insight that with the decline in hardware for 2G, 3G, and LTE, 5G rollouts are on their way to make up for the losses. 5G market revenue will originate first from a very low base of early adopters in the United States in the second half of 2018, followed by 5G rollouts in South Korea and massive 5G trials set for China in 2019 (article is open to all).

Teral, however, also admonished against expecting 5G revenue anytime soon. Observations from around the industry, he says, show that operators are still searching for potential new revenue-producing apps for 5G, with operators pinning their big but unproven hope on IoT, based on the big but unproven idea that network slicing will work (article for subscribers only)

Teral also gave his verdict on 5G prospects in the United States: the good, the bad, and the ugly (subscribers only).

In their high-level assessment of Broadband World Forum held this past October in Berlin, IHS Markit media analysts Marianne Angelou, John Kendall, and Daniel Simmons pointed out Telefonica Germany's support of 5G fixed wireless access (FWA), even though other conference exhibitors were showcasing other FWA flavors. Among end-to-end network vendors, Nokia alone has a comprehensive FWA proposition that spans 4G LTE, WiGig (802.11ad), and 5G (subscribers only).

At the European Conference on Optical Communication, held in London in September, metro and access networks were of high interest, said Heidi Adams, IHS Markit senior research director for transport networks. This is because 5G and evolving fixed-access architectures bring new opportunity and some distinct requirements for optical transceivers moving forward (subscribers only).

In a white paper on 3GPPP standards in November, IHS Markit tackled vendor and operator contributions in the 3GPP standardization process. While 4G LTE remains the primary technology generation today for almost all mobile communication networks nowadays, 5G is, indeed, the next step that all operators plan to take sooner or later (open to all).

Meanwhile, September's 5G Technology and Market Development Report examined how 5G technology can evolve as to network architecture, topology, waveform, and modulation schemes (subscribers only).

Also in September, Abel Nevarez, IHS Markit senior analyst for service providers and platforms, and Richard Webb, IHS Markit director for research and analysis, service provider technology, pose an interesting question: What role will Wi-Fi play in the future, when 5G promises near-instant connectivity across several applications? Will Wi-Fi disappear into the mobile ether, they ask (subscribers only).

In another Market Insight, Webb says the effect of 5G on the microwave equipment market will be mainly felt in two ways: in backhaul and fronthaul for mobile broadband, and in fixed wireless access (open to all)

For Anna Sliwon, IHS Markit analyst for security, 5G could be the technology that offers the best of all available communication technologies to the security industry. In the case of intruder alarm systems, the ultimate test for 5G in intruder alarm systems will be whether 5G is necessary to accomplish what modern and future intruder alarm systems are capable of. However, embracing the opportunity for innovation, which 5G can offer, could help make future intrusion systems more efficient and capable (open to all).

For more information on 5G and related fields of inquiry, visit our Mobile & Telecom research service. Categories within the research service include managed services, mobile innovation, mobile networks, operators & services, service provider broadband & video, and voice & data networks.

IHS Markit Technology Expert
Posted 5 December 2018

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