Twelve percent operators are expected to roll out 5G services in 2019 and an additional 86 percent is expected to deliver 5G services by 2021 says Vertiv and 451 Research.
The report captures the results of an in-depth survey of more than 100 global telecom decision makers with visibility into 5G and edge strategies and plans. The research covers 5G deployment plans, services supported by early deployments and the most important technical enablers for 5G success.
According to the survey, those initial services will be focused on supporting existing data services (96 percent) and new consumer services (36 percent). About one-third of respondents (32 percent) expect to support existing enterprise services with 18 percent saying they expect to deliver new enterprise services.
As networks continue to evolve and coverage expands, 5G itself will become a key enabler of emerging edge use cases that require high-bandwidth, low latency data transmission, such as virtual and augmented reality, digital healthcare, smart homes, buildings, factories and cities.
68 percent of the respondents do not expect to achieve total 5G coverage until 2028 or later. 28 percent expect to have total coverage by 2027 while only 4 percent expect to have total coverage by 2025.
Girish Oberoi, general manager of telecom strategic account management for Vertiv in India said, “As telcos ready themselves for the rollout of 5G, this report brings to light the challenges they face, as well as the need for energy-efficient network infrastructure required to optimize the technology in the best way possible.”
To support 5G services, telcos are ramping up the deployment of multi-access edge computing (MEC) sites, which bring the capabilities of the cloud directly to the radio access network. 37 percent of respondents said they are already deploying MEC infrastructure ahead of 5G deployments while an additional 47 percent intend to deploy MECs.
“5G represents the most impactful and difficult network upgrade ever faced by the telecom industry,” said Brian Partridge, research vice president for 451 Research.
“In general, the industry recognizes the scale of this challenge and the need for enabling technologies and services to help it maintain profitability by more efficiently managing increasingly distributed networks and mitigating the impact of higher energy costs,” added 451 Research.