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Worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenue to reach $19 billion

By Shannon Williams, 06 Aug 2021

Worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenue is on pace to grow 39% to total US$19.1 billion in 2021, up from US$13.7 billion in 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner.

According to the analyst firm, communications service providers (CSPs) in mature markets accelerated 5G development in 2020 and 2021 with 5G representing 39% of total wireless infrastructure revenue this year. 

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

5G is the fastest growing segment in the wireless network infrastructure market. Of the segments that comprise wireless infrastructure in this forecast, the only significant opportunity for investment growth is in 5G, Gartner says.

Investment in legacy wireless generations is rapidly deteriorating across all regions and spending on non-5G small cells is poised to decline as CSPs move to 5G small cells. 

Table 1: Wireless Network Infrastructure Revenue Forecast, Worldwide (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

Segment

2020 Revenue

2021 Revenue

2022 Revenue

5G

13,768.0

19,128.9

23,254.6

LTE and 4G

17,127.8

14,569.1

12,114.0

3G and 2G

3,159.6

1,948.2

1,095.2

Small Cells Non-5G

6,588.5

7,117.9

7,113.9

Mobile Core

5,714.6

6,056.2

6,273.3

Total

46,358.5

48,820.2

49,851.0

Source: Gartner (August 2021)

Regionally, CSPs in North America are set to grow 5G revenue from US$2.9 billion in 2020 to $4.3 billion in 2021, due, in part, to increased adoption of dynamic spectrum sharing and millimetre wave base stations. In Western Europe, CSPs will prioritise on licensing spectrum, modernising mobile core infrastructure and navigating regulatory processes with 5G revenue expected to increase from $794 million in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2021. Greater China is expected to maintain the No.1 global position in global 5G revenue reaching $9.1 billion in 2021, up from $7.4 billion in 2020.

While 10% of CSPs provided commercial 5G services in 2020, which could achieve multiregional availability, Gartner predicts that this number will increase to 60% by 2024, which is a similar rate of adoption for LTE and 4G in the past. 

Gartner clients can learn more in the reports “Forecast Analysis: Communications Service Provider Operational Technology, Worldwide” and “Forecast: Communications Service Provider Operational Technology, Worldwide, 2019-2025, 2Q21 Update.”

Gartner is a research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. It equips business leaders with insights, advice and tools to achieve mission-critical priorities. 

The company is an advisor and resource for more than 14,000 organisations in more than 100 countries.

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