Although 5G is still a few years from becoming a reality, Juniper Research has identified five mobile carriers as the “most promising 5G mobile network operators” – namely SK Telecom, NTT Docomo, KT Corp, China Mobile and AT&T Mobility.
South Korean mobile carrier SK Telekom ranked No 1 for the extent of 5G trials over the past 24 months in the fields of millimetre wave spectrum, MIMO (Massive Input, Massive Output) transmission and network slicing.
The ranking process included analysis of time in development, breadth and value of partnerships and progression of 5G network testing, Juniper Research says in its new report.
Additionally, the research firm forecasts that 5G operator-billed service revenues will reach $269 billion by 2025, rising from $851 million in 2019 - achieving 161% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the first seven years of 5G services.
Two thirds (66%) of all the revenues will come from North America and Far East & China by 2025.
Meanwhile, as 5G spectrum auctions and infrastructure build-out costs would necessitate a diverse range of strategies to maximize operator return on investment, this need is compounded by the ongoing fall of average revenues per connection.
As such, adoption of software-based network solutions will lower investment costs, enabling operators to begin realizing a return on investment as early as 2024, Juniper predicts.
The research firm also emphasizes the importance of these technological solutions in addressing varying 5G use cases.
“Network virtualization will become increasingly prominent as operators aim to lower expenditures,” notes research author Sam Barker. “Adoption of the technology is critical to the wide-ranging demands of future 5G networks.”
Juniper says the research is based on the latest market data and takes into account the accelerated status of current operator and vendor developments, with network launches expected to occur during 2019, a year earlier than originally anticipated.