Spending on 5G network infrastructure is expected to jump from $528 million in 2018 to $26 billion in 2022, producing a compound annual growth rate of 118 percent. Cumulatively, Moor Insights & Strategy estimates the infrastructure spending on 5G by 2025 will exceed $326 billion.
The research firm, Analysis Mason analyzed and ranked ten countries on their 5G-readiness. Their study shows China currently with a narrow lead over South Korea and the United States.
The “readiness” is based on two key regulatory areas. First, spectrum availability, licensing and deployment plans for 5G. Second, favorable mobile siting and licensing policies. Government cooperation at federal, state and local levels is essential to a successful, low-cost rollout and a robust participation in standards, designs, and sales by U.S. firms.
The firms competing to supply equipment for the $326 billion in infrastructure will be major employers and will stimulate the national economy. After the 5G infrastructure rollout, industry and consumers will spend on applications that harness 5G networks.
Some consumer purchases will be equipment such as routers, modems, computers, smartphones, TVs, video servers, and more specialized gear such as home security and environment controls. Consumer purchases of services will include TV channels, streaming services, internet service, and mobile voice and video communications. As well, there will be subscription services for the future equivalent of today’s newspapers, research libraries and services, social networking, physician advice, customized education, and miscellaneous specialty services.
Industrial and commercial uses of 5G services will include autonomous vehicles, smart factories (industrial internet of things), smart cities, virtual and augmented reality, edge computing (so-called fog computing, i.e. high-performance data processing in real time without needing the cloud), a health-care-specific internet of things, retailer financial transactions, and more.
Commercial users of 5G will likely upgrade their data centers and will need equipment from Cisco, Dell/EMC, Hewlett Packard, IBM, and Lenovo. Communications firms will upgrade their networks with help from Ericsson, Intel, Nokia, and Samsung. Commercial readiness will consume a large part of the $326 billion infrastructure upgrade for 5G.
In urban areas, communities will likely be equipped with fiber optic cable on major roads, supplemented with area 5G Wi-Fi and broadband services where fiber deployment would be uneconomical. The 5G broadband service will deliver speeds near 1 gigabit per second, almost indistinguishable from fiber optic service.
In urban areas, the 5G service will become a competitive alternative to “wired” broadband service and to VLEO satellites. VLEO satellites will offer consumers low latency service, e.g. 25 milliseconds, with high speed broadband similar to what LTE networks offer today. VLEO may become a competitor to 5G broadband and to fiber-optics, or it may be the first broadband available in unserved remote areas.
In your home, you will have a modem that connects to your 5G-wireless carrier, and you can use its Ethernet ports or the home Wi-Fi that it delivers. Your TV will connect through the home Wi-Fi. Your smartphone will connect through the home Wi-Fi or to mobile wireless service outside the home. This arrangement will need no cabling snaked through your house to each TV or computer.
Starting in 2019, there will be a limited number of 5G smartphones available from big retailers. The 5G service for consumers will be available in a few cities, but availability will blossom in 2020.