Global 5G network infrastructure revenue is tipped to almost double between 2019 and 2020, hitting $4.2 billion as 5G rollouts begin to accelerate over the next 12 months.

Analyst company Gartner expects there to be an 89 per cent increase in 5G infrastructure revenue for communications service providers (CSPs), from 2019 figures of $2.2 billion. The upward trend is expected to continue, with revenue from 5G forecast to hit $6.8 billion in 2021.

Sylvain Fabre, senior research director at Gartner, noted that at present CSPs are using non-standalone technology, which “enables them to introduce 5G services more quickly”, with 5G New Radio equipment running alongside existing 4G core network infrastructure.

This will change in 2020, as CSPs roll out stand-alone 5G technology, requiring 5G NR equipment and a 5G core network, “which will lower costs and improve performance for users.”

As a result, Gartner also forecast that investments in 5G NR network infrastructure will account for 6 per cent of the total wireless infrastructure revenue of CSPs in 2019, and that this figure will reach 12 per cent in 2020.

5G rollouts ramp
With 5G service already underway in the US, South Korea and major European countries including the UK and Switzerland, Gartner said 2020 will see a number of other major markets join the party.

CSPs in Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Spain, Sweden, Qatar and the UAE have all announced plans to accelerate 5G through next year.

Gartner said 2020 will also see enhanced use cases of the technology, with more CSPs targeting the enterprise, covering a range of industries. There will also be the emergence of private network use, for industrial users, which is seen as a huge potential market by equipment vendors.

Fabre said: “It’s still early days for the 5G private-network opportunity, but vendors, regulators and standards bodies have preparations in place.”