Global 5G infrastructure revenue to reach $19.1 billion in 2021

Worldwide 5G infrastructure revenue is expected to grow by 39 percent reaching $19.1 billion in 2021, up from $13.7 billion last year, according to a report published on Wednesday by U.S.- based research and advisory company, Gartner.  

The report revealed that communications service providers (CSPs) in mature markets enhanced 5G development in 2020 and 2021, citing the pandemic as a reason for this increase. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic spiked demand for optimized and ultrafast broadband connectivity to support work-from-home and bandwidth-hungry applications, such as streaming video, online gaming and social media applications,” said Michael Porowski, senior principal research analyst at Gartner. 

The only significant opportunity for investment growth is in 5G, the report stressed. 

However, the released numbers warned from investing in legacy wireless generations — outdated networks that include 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g standards — due to its rapid weakness across all regions. 

Additionally, the report unveiled that investing in non-5G small cells is expected to drop as CSPs move to 5G small cells, that are known as low-powered cellular radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to a few kilometers. 

As for regional distribution, statistics disclose that CSPs in North America are set to grow 5G revenue from $2.9 billion in 2020 to $4.3 billion in 2021, due to increased adoption of dynamic spectrum sharing and millimeter wave base stations.  

In Western Europe, CSPs will prioritize on licensing spectrum, modernizing mobile core infrastructure, and navigating regulatory processes with 5G revenue expected to increase from $794 million in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2021.  

On the other side of the world, China is expected to maintain the first global position in global 5G revenue reaching $9.1 billion in 2021, up from $7.4 billion in 2020, the report noted.  

This data explains European telcos’ interest in Chinese market, as Swedish vendor, Ericsson, was awarded earlier this week a 3 percent stake in China Telecom and China Unicom’s joint 5G ran operations

Similarly, Finnish Nokia telecom previously won in July its first 5G radio contract in China. 

Notably, Gartner’s report predicts that the percentage of provided commercial 5G services to increase from 10 percent in 2020 to 60 percent in 2024, describing this growth as a similar rate of adoption for LTE and 4G in the past. 

“As consumers return to the office, they will continue to upgrade or switch to gigabit fiber to the home (FTTH) service as connectivity has become an essential remote work service,” said Porowski.  

“Users will also increasingly scrutinize CSPs for both office and remote work needs,” the spokesperson added.