Although 5G captures all the headlines, 4G wireless technology will account for two-thirds of the global mobile connections by 2025, according to GSMA’s second annual ‘Global Mobile Trends’ report published yesterday at Mobile World Congress Americas being held in San Francisco. On a global basis, 5G networks will be rolled out at a slower rate than 4G and adoption is also likely to be slower.
“5G continues to occupy thought space as the next big thing in mobile,” the report said. “4G, however, will dominate in volume terms for at least the next 10 years.” GSMA predicts a net 3.6 billion 4G users will be added, versus 1.2 billion 5G users, between 2016 and 2025.
The United States and China are virtually tied with two thirds of all connections currently occurring LTE smartphones, with mobile data traffic growing at 20 percent to 30 percent per year.
“LTE is going to get faster, meaning that networks can deliver more intensive video traffic. This is one of the main reasons why 5G is likely to co-exist with 4G for many years, as opposed to replacing it,” the study said.
Enterprise IoT will be the key revenue opportunity for 5G according to 69 percent of all operators, the report said. Early consumer 5G deployments may target high-bandwidth applications as an extension to 4G, such as 8K ultra-HD video, virtual reality and augmented reality.
“The approach being pursued by U.S. carriers is to use 5G as a last-mile technology for home broadband,” the report said. “The ability to apply a pricing premium remains to be seen – to a large extent, it depends on how sufficiently different consumers perceive 5G to be to LTE.”
More Takeaways from the 2017 edition of the Global Mobile Trends