What 100 operators really think about 5G

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Press release
Sep 20, 2016
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  • 95 percent of respondents agreed that 5G supports the ongoing influx of connected devices and the Internet of Things
  • Most executives surveyed agreed that 5G will be a game changer
  • 80 percent of operators in Central and Latin America already have timelines in place to roll out 5G

The ICT industry has never seen anything like the journey to 5G. But what will 5G be used for, who will drive it and when will operators be ready? Ericsson’s (NASDAQ:ERIC) exclusive survey holds up a mirror to 5G – and reveals that objects in the future are closer than they appear.

By 2021, it is estimated that there will be 28 billion connected devices globally – close to 16 billion of which will be part of the Internet of Things¹. 5G communication technology, along with the continued development of 4G, will be the foundation for enabling these connections and helping realize the full potential of the Networked Society.

Standardization efforts for 5G have just begun and are expected to be completed by 2020. However, many operators around the world have started planning for 5G adoption and are taking initial steps toward vendor selection and early trials.

To learn more about operators’ expectations, use cases and plans for 5G, Ericsson commissioned a detailed survey of 100 technology leaders from operators in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Central and Latin America. Respondents included COOs, CTOs and CIOs, as well as heads of network operations, network innovation and network development.

Almost all (95 percent) of the respondents in the survey agreed that 5G supports the ongoing influx of connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT). This is because 5G will increase network capacity, which will be required to handle the traffic generated by the expected 28 billion connected devices in 2021. In addition, 5G will decrease the energy requirements for devices, enabling battery life of up to 10 years in some cases. This will significantly reduce maintenance costs, making large IoT installations more practical and cost-effective.

Overall, there is an expectation that 5G will be an innovation platform that provides the ability to bring new services to market quickly. This will enable operators to take advantage of market opportunities and dynamically meet changing consumer and business needs. These findings explain why most of the executives we surveyed (87 percent) agreed with the statement: “5G will be a real game-changer for us.”

Figure 1: Why is 5G a game-changer?

Operators expect 5G to bring opportunities in the areas of IoT, broadband everywhere and anytime, critical control of remote devices, smart vehicles and transportation infrastructure, and media everywhere.

Most respondents worldwide – 74 percent – have plans to roll out 5G at some point, but not all have timelines for those plans. North American operators lead the way, with 90 percent having plans in place to roll out 5G, followed by 80 percent in Central and Latin America, and 67 percent in both Europe and Asia Pacific.

Figure 2: When will you start 5G trials?

Across all regions, there were high expectations for commercial deployment of 5G before 2020, when the standards are expected to be finalized. More than half of North American respondents expected their organization to have critical mass adoption in 2018. And in all other regions, at least half of respondents expected critical mass adoption by 2020.

The Networked Society is here today, bringing disruptive change across industries and societies. The introduction of 5G will accelerate this transformation and create new use cases and business opportunities for operators, industries and consumers.

¹ Ericsson Mobility Report, June 2016


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Paola Torres, Local Communications
E-mail: paola.a.torres@ericsson.com

Ericsson is a world leader in communications technology and services with headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden. Our organization consists of more than 111,000 experts who provide customers in 180 countries with innovative solutions and services. Together we are building a more connected future where anyone and any industry is empowered to reach their full potential. Net sales in 2016 were SEK 222.6 billion (USD 24.5 billion). The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on NASDAQ in New York. Read more on www.ericsson.com.

Ericsson has been present in Latin America since 1896, when the company established an agreement in Colombia and delivered equipment for the first time in the region. In the early 1900s, Ericsson increased its presence in Latin America by signing commercial deals in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Today, Ericsson is present in 56 countries within South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, which combined count the region as one of the few with complete Ericsson installations, including a Production Unit, R&D Center and Training Center. Ericsson is the market leading telecom supplier, with over 40% market share in Latin America and more than 100 telecom service contracts in the region.