The firm anticipates 20 per cent of global mobile connections will be 5G in 2025
Adoption of 5G will take place at a rate faster than that of 4G according to new analysis from research firm CCS Insight.
CCS anticipates that the number of 5G mobile connections will surpass one billion in 2022, taking a year less than it took 4G connections to pass the same number, before reaching 2.8 billion in 2025 – 20 per cent of global mobile connections.
Despite many networks the world over (including AT&T, Verizon, KT Telecom and Swisscom) having launched commercial 5G services, CCS anticipates that initial uptake will be slow, with fewer than 10 million 5G smartphones expected to be sold in 2019.
This is because of the high retail prices and limited support for frequency bands that the devices offer.
CCS Insight director of consumer and connectivity Kester Mann said: “Despite an avalanche of recent 5G ‘firsts’, widespread network deployment will take years to achieve. Early launches represent an important milestone for the industry, but we should consider them as just the beginning of a long journey.”
The report says that in 2020, the rate of 5G uptake will increase as all major Android manufacturers will have 5G devices on the market, and Apple is expected to have a 5G-enabled iPhone ready for 2020 after settling its legal issues with Qualcomm.
CCS vice president of forecasting Marina Koytcheva added: “Fierce competition coupled with subsidies and incentives in certain markets will ensure rapid price erosion of 5G devices in 2020. This will facilitate fast adoption of 5G by smartphone users.”
One area of uncertainty that the report noted was the use of Huawei’s 5G equipment in regions such as Europe, where major operators have warned of the need to use the Chinese manufacturer’s equipment to prevent delays. China is expected to be the largest 5G market by the end of 2020, and will account for 37 per cent of 5G connections by 2025, with more than one billion.
The report was sanguine about the growth of 5G in the IoT space. CCS senior vice president of Internet Martin Garner said: “As big as it is in the long term, we expect it will take time to grow; 5G needs a couple more years to be fully ready for industrial IoT. Even then, the industrial IoT world is relatively cautious, and there will also be some substitution from other technologies.”