Juniper Research asserted operators need to focus on virtualising core network functions to reduce strain from an expected increase in data traffic spurred by 5G adoption, as the next-generation era is expected to unlock global revenue opportunity surpassing $600 billion by 2026.

In a report, the company warned operators are headed for challenges in meeting growing mobile data demands based on a forecast 5G connections would generate demand of 1.5 million petabytes globally by the end of 2026.

Report author Dave Bowie highlighted network orchestration tools which enable real-time management of network performance as “key to providing a service that meets the demand of 5G subscribers and enable operators to fully maximise” service revenue.

Juniper Research also highlighted a need to accelerate fibre backhaul infrastructure deployments to prevent traffic congestion on mobile broadband services, which are tipped to account for more than 80 per cent of data generated from the use of 5G.

It also called for operators to prepare their networks for mobile gaming and immersive reality offerings, demand for which it expects to increase over the forecast period.

Juniper Research forecast global revenue from 5G services to hit $73 billion this year compared with $20 billion in 2020, accounting for 8.5 per cent of operator sales.