Global 5G network infrastructure revenue is set to grow by 39 per cent by the end of 2021, to reach US$19.1 billion, with future growth all but guaranteed.
According to research firm Gartner, the market segment’s predicted growth for this year is up from US$13.7 billion in 2022.
Its revenue growth prediction will make it the fastest growing segment in the whole wireless network infrastructure market, with the firm claiming it is the “only significant opportunity for investment growth” in the market.
5G is also expected to make up 39 per cent of all total wireless infrastructure revenue by year’s end.
“The COVID-19 pandemic spiked demand for optimised and ultrafast broadband connectivity to support work-from-home and bandwidth-hungry applications, such as streaming video, online gaming and social media applications,” said Michael Porowski, senior principal research analyst at Gartner.
Meanwhile, legacy network infrastructure is set to decline, with LTE and 4G expected to decline by 15 per cent to US$14.6 billion in 2021, while 3G and 2G is expected to fall by 38.3 per cent to US$1.9 billion.
The increased spending in 5G is expected to dramatically increase the technology’s uptake across major cities globally, with Gartner claiming 5G coverage provided by communications service providers (CSPs) in tier-1 cities to increase from 10 per cent in 2020 to 60 per cent by 2024.
This, the firm continued, is comparable to the rate of adoption for LTE and 4G.
“Business and customer demand is an influencing factor in this growth. As consumers return to the office, they will continue to upgrade or switch to gigabit fibre to the home (FTTH) service as connectivity has become an essential remote work service,” said Porowski. “Users will also increasingly scrutinise CSPs for both office and remote work needs.”
This is then feeding into the growing global passive optical network (PON) market. While 10-Gigabit-capable symmetric-PONs (XGS-PON) are not a new concept, CSPs are showing their willingness to embrace the tech as price points narrow.
As a result, Gartner estimates 60 per cent of tier-1 CSPs will take up XGS-PON tech at large-scale for the delivery of ultrafast broadband services to users, up from under 30 per cent in 2020.
Gartner's analysis into 5G follows its look into the factors that are expected to shape the future of public cloud, with 5G highlighted making the idea of the cloud more appealing across an increasing range of use cases.