Among the technology trends in 2019, the fifth-generation of wide-area wireless networks (5G) will be coming in scale. As per a recent report by Deloitte Global, 72 operators tested 5G in 2018, and 25 operators are expected to launch 5G service in at least part of their territory. Further, 26 operators will launch the service in 2020.
The report highlights that 5G will take several years to replace the dominance of 4G marketplace. However, the speed, capacity, latency, and penetration of 5G will bring several new opportunities to telecom operators.
Deloitte expects that around 20 handset vendors will bring 5G handsets in 2019. The first 5G-ready handset will be available in second quarter of 2019, with a total of 1 million handsets to be shipped by the year end.
Around 1 million 5G hotspots and 1 million 5G fixed wireless access devices are expected to be installed in 2019.
“At the end of 2020, we expect 5G handset sales (15–20 million units) to represent approximately 1 percent of all smartphone sales, with sales taking off in 2021, the first year in which retailers will sell more than 100 million 5G handsets,” mentioned Deloitte in the report.
“The most noticeable benefits of these first 5G networks for users will be faster speeds than today’s 4G technology: peak speeds of gigabits per second (Gbps), and sustainable speeds estimated to be in the hundreds of megabits per second (Mbps).”
As per the report, 5G technology will be used majorly for mobile connectivity (smartphones), for connecting less-mobile devices (5G models or hotspots), and 5G fixed-wireless access (FWA) devices.
A chip for 4G phone costs around $70 in 2018. The components for a 5G phone are expected to cost around $40-$50 more than that of 4G phone.
The less-mobile devices that connect to 5G network and then to other devices via Wi-Fi technology will cost lesser compared to 5G smartphones, as these will devices don’t have a screen, and consist only a radio, antennas, and a battery.
The 5G FWA devices will provide broadband connectivity to homes and businesses with antennas mounted in windows or buildings.
“Our predictions for 5G adoption might seem unusually conservative or pessimistic. But we see no reason to doubt that the first years of 5G will look almost exactly like the first years of 4G (2009–10). At that, 5G usage will spread faster than 3G, which launched in 1998 and took time to gain widespread acceptance,” concluded Deloitte.