Spending on 5G and 5G-related network infrastructure will grow from about $528 million this year to an estimated $26 billion by 2022, according to a new 5G equipment spending forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The research group expects 2019 to be “a seminal year” for the mobile industry and 5G as 5G handsets become available, enabling end-users to experience 5G technology firsthand.
Those handsets should be able to take advantage of some of the technologies the industry is working on now, including network virtualization, and machine learning/ artificial intelligence (ML/AI). IDC expects these technologies to be only the start, with the full breadth of 5G’s potential taking several years to arrive, and requiring additional standards work and trials, particularly related to a 5G NG core.
5G Equipment Spending Forecast
IDC cautions that for the full benefits of 5G to be realized, stakeholders will need to continue investing in it and in supporting technologies.
“Early 5G adopters are laying the groundwork for long-term success by investing in 5G RAN, NFVI, optical underlays, and next-generation routers and switches,” said Patrick Filkins, senior research analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure, for IDC, in a prepared statement. “Many are also in the process of experimenting with the 5G NG core. The long-term benefit of making these investments now will be when the standards-compliant SA 5G core is combined with a fully virtualized, cloud-ready RAN in the early 2020s. This development will enable many communications SPs to expand their value proposition and offer customized services across a diverse set of enterprise verticals through the use of network slicing.”