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ABI: 5G Service Revenues Will Reach Nearly $200 Billion Cumulatively by 2026

December 2, 2016 By Steve Senne in

Wireless carriers will earn nearly $200 billion in cumulative service revenues from 5G deployments that make use of millimeter (mm) and centimeter (cm) wave frequency bands by 2026, according to a 5G service revenues forecast from ABI Research.

Wireless network operators are preparing to roll out a first crop of next-generation 5G mm and cm wave networks even as they work to finalize worldwide industry standards and expand 4G LTE-A and LTE-A Pro networks and services, both of which are still in the early stages of adoption and usage, ABI notes.

Growth of 5G services will be fastest in developed markets in North America and Asia-Pacific, according to ABI, noting that AT&T and Verizon have completed lab and field testing with an eye towards launching initial commercial deployments in 2017.

Verizon announced that it had completed its own 5G wireless spec back in June in advance of the launch of the latest round of industry-wide standards development. Focused initially on fixed wireless networking, the nature and results of Verizon’s 5G wave field tests were another example of management’s intention to shift resources away from fiber-based to wireless broadband networking. 

Elsewhere, Japan and South Korea intend to showcase 5G networking in a trial run while hosting the upcoming Olympics. Among OEMs, Qualcomm recently announced its Snapdragon X50 5G modem will download data via the 28 GHz band at 5 Gbps.

5G Service Revenues Will Be Less Than for 4G

The number of LTE, LTE-A and LTE-A Pro subscribers worldwide will exceed five billion and 4G technologies will have generated nearly $3.5 trillion in service revenues by 2026, ABI VP and managing director Joe Hoffman said.

“While the global LTE subscriber base will continue to grow in the immediate future as operators evolve to LTE-A Pro networks, it will likely soften in developed markets when 5G deployments take off,” ABI industry analyst Khin Sandi was quoted as saying. 

“In 2026, the LTE portfolio will remain the dominant mobile technology, representing more than 50% of worldwide mobile subscriptions, while the 5G subscriber base will grow to account for close to 5% of the market’s total.”