Operator billed revenue from 5G connections will reach $357 billion by 2025; rising from $5 billion in 2020, its first full year of commercial service. The figures are contained in a new study from Juniper Research.

The authors note that by 2025, 5G revenue is anticipated to represent 44 per cent of global operator billed revenue owing to rapid migration of 4G mobile subscribers to 5G networks and new business use cases enabled by 5G technology.

However, the study, Operator Revenue Strategies: Challenges, Opportunities & Forecasts 2020-2025, identified 5G networks roll-outs as highly resilient to the COVID-19 pandemic. It found that supply chain disruptions caused by the initial periods of the pandemic have been mitigated through modified physical roll-out procedures, in order to maintain the momentum of hardware deployments.

Uptake

The study found that 5G uptake had surpassed initial expectations; predicting that total 5G connections will surpass 1.5 billion by 2025. It also forecast that the average 5G connection will generate 250% more revenue than an average cellular connection by 2025.

To secure a return on investment into new services, such as uRLLC (Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication) and network slicing, enabled by 5G, operators will apply this premium pricing for 5G connections, However, these services alongside the high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G will create data-intensive use cases that lead to a 270% growth in data traffic generated by all cellular connections over the next five years.

Increased Virtualisation

Operators must use future launches of standalone 5G networks as an opportunity to further increase virtualisation in core networks, according to the researchers. Failure to develop 5G network architectures that handle increasing traffic will lead to reduced network functionality, inevitably leading to a diminished value proposition of its 5G network amongst end-users.

Research author Sam Barker remarked: ‘Operators will compete on 5G capabilities, in terms of bandwidth and latency. A lesser 5G offering will lead to user churn to competing networks and missed opportunities in operators’ fastest-growing revenue stream.’

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