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5G use cases and business opportunities market research report 2017 just published

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The report provides a global view of the opportunity in deploying 5G and growth trends in terms of subscriptions, as well as new use cases with customized communications.

5G Use Cases and Business Opportunities Market Research Report 2017 provides an overview of the 5G market trends, size, and share worldwide with Addressing Latency, Reliability and Network Density Opens up New Business Opportunities. 

This analysis is useful for telecom executives to evaluate their position vis-à-vis the major growth opportunities in 5G and make informed decisions about strategic investments, value proposition and growth strategies to rapidly grow their 5G networks. The report provides valuable insights about use cases made possible by the 5G family of technologies.

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Companies mentioned in this report: China Telecom, Unicom, China Mobile, AT&T, KT, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, Softbank, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, EE, Singtel, Swisscom, Telefonica, TIM, Etisalat, Orange, Vodafone, KDDI, Telia.

Data consumption is set to grow fourfold in the next five years. 5G will, for the first time, go beyond increased bandwidth and capacity, as was the focus in previous wireless generations, adding low latency, high density and high reliability.

The report benchmarks five countries and regions and their attitude vis a vis 5G deployment and trends in terms of launch and pace of take-up of 5G mobile subscriptions. 5G is gaining momentum, given that standardization timelines have been brought forward.

As a result, in Japan, South Korea and USA all the major operators are planning to launch IMT 2020 based services during 2019. Important events such as Olympics are an additional driver in a number of countries.

3GPP has agreed to bring forward the finalization of the IMT 2020 standard, but a few pre-standard 5G networks are being rolled out during 2017. LTE penetration has reached 60% in several markets and over 70% for some operators, while average monthly smartphone data consumption is set to grow fourfold in the next five years, and the volume of mobile data will continue to grow fast.

Progressive operators in advanced markets are pushing for early 5G launches, and the first commercial, standardized services may launch as early as late 2018, despite the nomenclature. Many more operators will launch in the following couple of years.

5G goes beyond previous wireless generations, with additional capabilities beyond increased bandwidths and capacities, resulting in new opportunities but also additional challenges in complexity.

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5G will, for the first time, go beyond increased bandwidth and capacity, as was the focus in previous wireless generations, adding low latency, high density and high reliability. These capabilities will enable a variety of use cases, opening the door to new, predominantly business focused services such as self-driving cars and smart cities.

5G also supports the focus that many operators have in looking for new, adjacent revenue streams, including fixed-mobile integration, digital content and IoT.

5G supports a very wide range of frequency bands, from sub-1GHz through to 40GHz plus, as well as shared and unlicensed spectrum. This enables operators to choose from a range of different deployment strategies: the first 5G networks will use 28GHz deployed in dense urban environments and can be used to offer fixed-wireless services; most operators will start by using medium frequency spectrum, typically 3.5GHz, the most harmonized band internationally, for urban and semi-urban coverage to provide enhanced mobile broadband services; thus far, one operator (T-Mobile USA) has announced that it will launch 5G on low frequency spectrum (600MHz), with the advantage of rapid, low cost rollout, although bandwidth will be limited.

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In some markets, notably South Korea and Japan, the environment is well suited for 5G, with widespread fibre availability, large scale small cell deployments, high LTE penetration (across all the operators) and a supportive regulator. Strong competition and short device upgrade cycles will also mean that, in both markets, the three major mobile operators are expected to deploy early, resulting in high 5G adoption.

The US also enjoys strong mobile traffic growth, but fibre is not quite as widely available and small cell deployment is still limited. Nevertheless, the FCC, the regulator is helping to address some of these issues and all the four large networks have announced they want to launch commercial services before the end of 2019.

Similarly Japan is also expected to be a competitive 5G market, and we estimate that 36% of mobile subscriptions will be 5G capable.

In depth, this report provides the following -

  • Provides a background and a rationale to 5G, explaining the drivers behind 5G deployment, the terminology and spectrum requirement.
  • Examines the capabilities and opportunities enabled by 5G, taking a deep look at fixed wireless, massive machine, latency, reliability, automotive and drone services and network virtualization.
  • Provides a timeframe for commercial launch of 5G worldwide, by operator, up to 2022. we then forecast main trends in 5G subscriptions in South Korea, Japan, the US, China and Europe.
  • Key findings and recommendations are concludes the report with a summary of the opportunities, challenges and success factors in deploying 5G, as well as recommendations, for network operators and vendors.


The 28GHz frequency band is enjoying the most initial focus, and will support early services in South Korea and US, although it is not available in all regions. The 3.5GHz frequency band has, by some way, the broadest support across key regions including US, where it is to become available as shared spectrum.

Many other high frequency bands are also being considered, notably 2.5GHz, 4GHz and 39GHz; these will be complemented by low frequency bands also, including 600MHz, 700MHz and 1.3GHz. The 5G business case for operators depends very much on small cell deployment and the associated availability of high capacity backhaul.

List of Tables

Exhibit 1: 5G as a proportion of total mobile subscribers

Exhibit 2: Mobile data growth by device, 2016 & 2021

Exhibit 3: ITU-R IMT 2020 requirements

Exhibit 4: Mobile Technology Generations

Exhibit 5: 5G standardization timeline

Exhibit 6: 5G New Radio Requirements

Exhibit 7: International 5G spectrum availability

Exhibit 8: Qualcomm 5G air interface technologies

Exhibit 9: Beam-forming and MIMO technologies

Exhibit 10: Advantages, challenges and deployment scenarios for key 5G spectrum bands

Exhibit 11: 5G network densification will require small cells and new site types

Exhibit 12: Microwave share of backhaul by region, 2016 and 2021

Exhibit 13: Kumu Networks’ full duplex technology for backhaul

Exhibit 14: Backhaul capacity requirements per radio site for operators in advanced mobile broadband phase

Exhibit 15: Consolidated 2016 revenue ($bn) and revenue growth

Exhibit 16: ITU IMT 2020 use cases

Exhibit 17: 5G use case timeline

Exhibit 18: New fields for 5G

Exhibit 19: Long term 5G business case

Exhibit 20: 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) Membership

Exhibit 21: NTT DOCOMO drone platform

Exhibit 22: Network slicing architecture

Exhibit 23: Degree of network virtualization planned for 2020 by operator

Exhibit 24: 5G expected timeline launches

Exhibit 25: 5G subscriptions forecast - S.Korea, 2018- 2022

Exhibit 26: 5G subscriptions forecast - Japan, 2018-2022

Exhibit 27: 5G subscriptions forecast -US, 2018-2022

Exhibit 28: 5G subscriptions forecast - China, 2018-2022

Exhibit 29: 5G subscriptions forecast - Europe (EE, Orange EU, Vodafone EU and DTAG), 2018-2022 39

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