5G revenue will increase by 32% as carriers aim for $400 billion.

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More investments in fifth-generation (5G) networks are expected to bring operators a 32 percent revenue jump, which could fetch them $400 billion by the end of 2024. A study by Juniper Research, which disclosed this, noted that as consumer 5G penetration rates become saturated, it will be ‘imperative’ for operators to launch 5G services geared towards enterprise IoT users, specifically 5G Advanced and 5G RedCap (Reduced Capacity).

The report described 5G Advanced as ‘a development of the next evolutionary stage of 5G’ and said it will unlock new opportunities for operators and strengthen 5G support for XR, VR, and AR applications, while AI and machine learning will be key to improving network performance.
According to it, Redcap is “an emerging 5G standard that will leverage 5G network standards to provide high data rates, extended battery life, and low latency to specific use cases across the IoT space. Outlined in R17 of the 3GPP specifications, the service will provide operators with a platform to compete with other connectivity technologies outside of the telecommunications ecosystem.”

These technologies have been projected to help boost the IoT sector, and Juniper forecasts there will be over 360 million 5G IoT devices using public networks by 2028, compared to 35 million devices in 2024.
Already, the United Nations arm in charge of global communications, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), has disclosed that the 5G network has reached 40 percent of the eight billion global population since its launch in 2019.
Indeed, as of mid-2023, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said about 500,000 5G subscriptions are in Nigeria, while the penetration is about 0.83 percent of the country’s population of over 200 million.
Checks by The Guardian showed that since launching in Nigeria, going into the third year now, the licensees, MTN, Mafab, and Airtel, have pushed for more 5G penetrations in the country. While Airtel claims to be in Lagos, Ogun, Port Harcourt, and Abuja, MTN is in over 15 cities across the country. Mafab, too, claimed to be in Lagos and Abuja.
Meanwhile, the Juniper report said Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) will also benefit from a speed boost thanks to these technologies, enabling operators to offer similar network conditions as fixed network service providers. It stressed that operators must leverage their existing billing relationships with consumers to promote their FWA solutions.
Research co-author Sam Barker said: “FWA has always been positioned as a key service for 5G network monetisation, but the emergence of 5G Advanced and 5G RedCap will enable operators to offer similar network conditions as fixed network service providers. Operators must leverage their existing billing relationships with consumers to promote their FWA solutions.”

Meanwhile, the report looks further into the future towards 6G, saying 5G Advanced enables the development of 6G systems. It is anticipated that this will further contribute to a more ‘efficient digital ecosystem.’
The report said: “For instance, technologies such as XR will evolve into immersive communication in which humans will interact with machines, requiring 6G to offer a more advanced experience.
“Further, the technology components investigated in 5G Advanced Evolution are essential precursors to key 6G building blocks. The data processing will be higher at the edge of the network for 6G, continuing for critical services. The development of 6G will build on the existing infrastructure of 5G, continually improving reliability, efficiency, and optimisation across a network.”
While operators will no doubt be keen to get their hands on anything like a 32 percent hike in revenues this year, a lot of the nascent services the report suggested they start flogging to the enterprise market will presumably hinge on the continued expansion of 5G standalone networks to make full use of 5G’s capabilities.

However, market statistics from the GSA late last year claimed that the number of operators investing in standalone 5G networks globally is growing at a snail’s pace.