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Global 5G infrastructure spend to nearly double this year, says Gartner

Jasper Hart
July 28, 2020

Overall infrastructure revenues to decline and 4G spending to decrease

Operators will spend more than $8.1 billion (£6.3 billion) on 5G network infrastructure worldwide in 2020, almost double on the previous year, according to Gartner.

Chinese investment accounts for 49.4 per cent of this figure, with the country benefiting from state sponsorship and domestic infrastructure providers.

The spend increase comes amid an expected decline in overall wireless infrastructure revenue this year, with the analyst firm predicting total revenues to be down 4.4 per cent to $38.1 billion (£29.4 billion).

5G networks will represent 21.3 per cent of this revenue, more than double the 10.4 per cent they represented in 2019.

Gartner anticipates a decrease in 4G spending from $20.7 billion to $16.4 billion (£12.6 billion), with 5G investment to overtake 4G by 2022.

The increase in 5G spending is down from the 577 per cent annual increase seen in 2019, when Communications Service Providers (CSPs) geared up for their first commercial launches of the service.

“Investment in wireless infrastructure continues to gain momentum, as a growing number of CSPs are prioritizing 5G projects by reusing current assets including radio spectrum bandwidths, base stations, core network and transport network, and transitioning LTE/4G spend to maintenance mode,” said Gartner senior research director Kosei Takiishi.

“Early 5G adopters are driving greater competition among CSPs. In addition, governments and regulators are fostering mobile network development and betting that it will be a catalyst and multiplier for widespread economic growth across many industries.”

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