Europe is still way behind the United States and certain Asian countries in the global 5G race, new findings from market research firm CCS Insight show, suggesting the Old Continent will only manage to surpass 100 million 5G connections in early 2023. An overall lack of scale, existing 4G focus, severe market fragmentation, and rising regulatory scrutiny of the wireless segment are highlighted as the main reasons for that state of affairs, even though certain mobile service providers in Europe such as Telecom Italia and Telia appear to be shifting significant resources toward research and development of the next generation of telecommunications solutions, as per the same report.
CCS Insight still raised its short-term forecast for global 5G adoption, having estimated 1.4 billion of such connections will be established by 2023. The United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and China are all aiming to start limited 5G deployment no later than early 2019 but initial buildout efforts are still likely to be slow, the new research indicates. The experimental 5G networks established this year will allow for no more than a million of 5G connections by the end of 2018, whereas the following 12 months should see 12 million active 5G devices being used on a worldwide level. That number is predicted to rise to 60 million in 2020 and explode over the following year, with CCS Insight forecasting wireless carriers around the world will be servicing 280 million 5G devices as of 2021. By 2025, 2.8 billion 5G products will be active around the world, with China being expected to account for nearly half of that figure.
The advent of 5G has been directly enabled with the completion of the 3GPP's Release 15, the first implementable next-generation wireless standard agreed last December in Lisbon, Portugal. Despite touting the incoming wireless specification as a likely game changer for telecom monetization, many mobile service providers in Europe remain relatively conservative in regards to 5G R&D investments compared to their overseas colleagues, with the vast majority of them not being expected to start rolling out commercial services based on the new technology on any significant scale prior to 2020.