Report: Carriers To Spend $21 Billion To Build 5G Networks

A research group has estimated that the wireless carriers will spend around $21 billion to roll-out infrastructure for 5G networks by the end of 2025. The report claims that wireless carriers will spend the bulk of the money starting in 2019 when the first standardized deployments of 5G networks are expected to occur. The huge spending will continue until around 2025, which is when 5G networks will be available on the roads. Even if the 5G standards are not yet finalized, the networks will likely spend around $250 million, which would likely cover the cost of test bed construction in rural and urban areas and the development of tools needed to optimize network implementation.

After the standards become implementation ready by the year 2018, the networks will spend around $21 billion on network infrastructure, which includes the construction of new base stations and deployment of small cells. Aside from the base stations and small cells, an additional $7 billion will likely be spent to upgrade network core and backhaul to support the demands of 5G networks like increased data speeds and low latencies. With the massive spending by the carriers, among the biggest beneficiaries are the suppliers of telecommunications equipment which include Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, and Huawei. Right now, these suppliers are engaged with the wireless carriers globally in the testing of network equipment and deployment. The results of these tests are quite encouraging, with carriers reporting record data speeds across different frequencies.

While 5G networks will see widespread commercialization by the year 2020, it is the mobile broadband services that will first take advantage of the new technology. This was a deliberate decision made by the 3GPP, with the consortium deciding to accelerate portions of 5G New Radio that will target mobile broadband use. These portions include the non-standalone implementation of 5G New Radio, which will use existing radio standards like LTE as an anchor for the network coverage. Once the non-standalone implementation is standardized, the consortium will then work on other components of the 5G standard that will focus on new use cases like internet-of-things connectivity, self-driving cars, cloud robotics, and remote surgery with haptic feedback. The finalization of the other components will begin by the year 2019.

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