12% of mobile operators will offer 5G by the end of 2018

82% of mobile operators that participated in a recent IHS Market study are busy trialing and testing 5G technology, mainly in North America and Asia, with 12% (all from the US) planning commercial 5G rollouts by the end of the year.

  • 82% of the operators polled rated ultra-low latency (ULL) the chief technical driver for 5G, followed by decreased cost per bit (76%) and increased network capacity (71%).
  • The most challenging network development item on the 5G agenda is radio. 53% that said radio is the area of the network that will require the biggest development effort to make 5G happen, followed by transport (24%) and management (14%).
  • Extreme mobile broadband (eMBB) was the highest-rated 5G use case driver among survey respondents, followed by real-time gaming. As real-time gaming requires a super-fast network with low latency, it cannot occur in the absence of eMBB; the same applies to high-definition (HD) and ultra-high-definition (UHD) video services and tactile low-latency touch and steer. Even so, respondents expect fixed-wireless access (FWA) to be ready for commercial deployment first.

Get ready, 5G is around the corner.  5G is going live in North America by the end of 2018, and then in South Korea in 2019. Most operators in Europe, however, aren’t planning to deploy 5G until 2021 or later.

Stéphane Téral, Executive Research Director, IHS Markit