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ABI Research is projecting that mobile broadband operators will snag 5G revenues of $247 billion in 2025 with North America, Asia-Pacific and Western Europe as the top markets. Network operators, vendors and standards bodies will finalize technical details concerning the millimeter wave by 2020, with rollout ramping up afterward, according to the research firm.

"5G will be a fast-growing cellular technology, most probably faster than preceding generations including 4G," Joe Hoffman, managing director and VP at ABI Research, says. "The technology migration over the next few years will mean the continued decline of 2G. 3G and 4G will grow in many markets but 5G will generate new use cases and market revenues."

Stumbling blocks include spectrum fragmentation, standards development, coverage range, availability of devices and CAPEX/OPEX. The most important obstacle, according to ABI, is the development of use cases that ensure profitable outcomes from the unique competitive advantages of 5G.

5G technology and standardization issues are slated to be a buzz topic at this week’s Mobile Carriers Show in Nashville. A CTO roundtable and some of the panel sessions list it as a major talking point with contributions from companies like T-Mobile, Ericsson, Nokia, Sprint, Atlantic Tele-Network, C Spire, U.S. Cellular and TNS. One panel is taking on issues about re-architecting networks to handle new technologies and services, while another is directly focusing on policy issues around 5G.

ABI Research points out that unlike the case with LTE, 5G stakeholders are trying hard to achieve spectrum harmonization. As with LTE, however, 5G will also include unlicensed and shared spectrum schemes. Government organizations worldwide will need to work together to regulate the 5G spectrum and set the new standard, the research firm concludes.

"The 5G Network of Tomorrow will, over time, evolve to embrace cellular, WiFi, and wired connectivity, in addition to millimeter wave," Hoffman concludes. "It will be better, cheaper, greener, and incredibly high-speed wireless data access for the mass market that will cause business innovation to explode."

 

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