Gartner, one of the major players in research, analysis and consulting, has forecasted that global spending on 5G infrastructure and equipment will rise by close to 100 per cent within the current year, despite the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic on other sectors.
The company expects 5G spending on infrastructure and equipment to reach 8.12 billion dollars this year, representing an increase of 96 per cent from the 4.14 billion dollars that was spent over the previous year. In contrast, infrastructure as a whole, including legacy networks like 3G and 4G, will record a drop of about 4.4 per cent, falling to 38.1 billion dollars.
In regards to 3G and 4G specifically, analysis places the percentage of decrease at 37.1 per cent for the former and 20.8 per cent for the latter. Analyst Kosei Takiishi explained that this is a reflection of each network’s current status. 5G is absorbing all major investments, while 3G and 4G are in what he calls ‘maintenance mode’. 3G has been in development since the 1980s and properly launched in the early 2000s, while 4G implementation picked up steam in the late 2000s and became more commonplace during the following decade.
Analyst Kosei Takiishi added that “despite investment growth rates in 5G being slightly lower in 2020 due to the Covid-19 crisis (excluding Greater China and Japan), CSPs in all regions are quickly pivoting new and discretionary spend to build out the 5G network and 5G as a platform.”
Takiishi explained that while the need for increased spending on 5G technology will not subside any time soon, the more efficient planning and infrastructure use by network operators has assisted the implementation of the technology.
“A growing number of CSPs are prioritising 5G projects by reusing current assets including radio spectrum bandwidths, base stations, core network and transport network,” Takiishi said.
It is no major surprise to see China leading the way in 5G spending. At the moment, the East Asian nation currently represents roughly half of global investment in this field. Gartner notes that 49.4 per cent of all spending is attributed to China.
Highly developed nations such as the United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea are quickly progressing in this regard, with Gartner predicting that 5G will soon be available to the vast majority of each respective country’s population.
Finally, Gartner has stated that overall fund allocation on 3G and 4G networks will keep on falling, especially when the same network carriers who use them start transitioning to 5G.