The number of worldwide 5G connections are set to grow from roughly 10.0 million in 2019 to 1.1 billion in 2023, according to a new 5G forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC).
This represents a compound annual growth rate of 217.2% over the 2019-2023 forecast period. By 2023, IDC expects 5G will represent 8.9% of all mobile device connections.
This growth will stem from a variety of factors, including a rise in data creation and consumption and the proliferation of the internet of things.
Despite this, there’s work to be done to ensure success. “While there is a lot to be excited about with 5G, and there are impressive early success stories to fuel that enthusiasm, the road to realising the full potential of 5G beyond enhanced mobile broadband is a longer-term endeavour, with a great deal of work yet to be done on standards, regulations, and spectrum allocations,” said Jason Leigh, research manager for mobility at IDC. “Despite the fact that many of the more futuristic use cases involving 5G remain three to five years from commercial scale, mobile subscribers will be drawn to 5G for video streaming, mobile gaming, and augmented reality/virtual reality applications in the near term.”
In addition to building out the 5G network infrastructure, mobile network operators will have a lot to do
To ensure a return on their investment, mobile network operators need to invest in the development of 5G mobile apps and work with developers to create robust apps and use cases that take full advantage of the speed, latency, and connection density offered by 5G.
They also need to position themselves as trusted advisors around connectivity and create deep partnerships with software, hardware, and services vendors.
“While broad rollout isn’t expected until after 2020, operators are already keen to position themselves as leaders,” Rick Lievano, Microsoft’s worldwide director of industry technology strategy for telecommunications told The Record earlier this year. “At Microsoft we have a significant part to play in this shift – we are helping carriers to achieve the scale they need to deploy networks rapidly and with a lower capital expenditure than in the past.”