wireless towerMuch work remains to be done in order to meet the need for a common 5G wireless broadband industry standard that satisfies the diverse needs of market participants, according to Strategy Analytics’ ¨5G Progress Review – Fragmentation Likely but Diversification Possible.¨ The market research provider’s 5G mobile forecast calls for  the first commercial sales to commence in 2020 and grow rapidly, with unit sales exceeding 300 million by 2025.

Leading wireless broadband network providers’ 5G strategies vary widely, according to Strategy Analytics, as leading companies such as AT&T, Verizon, NTT DoCoMo and SK Telecom are on much different development paths.

“5G network plans have developed well in 2016, driving an ecosystem which will put 7% of mobile connections on 5G networks by 2025,¨ Senior Analyst Guang Yang highlighted in a news release about the 5G mobile forecast.

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Behind the 5G Mobile Forecast
Reflective of its increasing focus on broadband wireless, Verizon last month announced it had completed a specification for ultra-high-bandwidth 5G wireless networking. Verizon is pushing ahead of the curve in this respect given the initial industry 5G standard applies to fixed broadband.

Elsewhere among U.S. carriers, Dish Network and other spectrum license holders are trying to persuade the FCC to allow them to use MVDDS (multichannel video and data distribution service) spectrum (12.2-12.7 GHz) for 5G wireless services, including two-way mobile broadband service.

Chinese wireless carriers intend to introduce 5G in 2020, which brings them roughly in line with early adopters in the U.S., Japan and South Korea, who have accelerated their 5G programs in light of the Olympic Games and competition from alternative providers, Yang continues. European operators, in contrast, are paying more attention to IoT opportunities.

The first 5G handsets will be available commercially in small numbers in South Korea and Japan come 2020, according to Strategy Analytics Director Ken Hyers. Launches will take place in the U.S., U.K., Sweden, UAE and China from 2021 onwards.

¨By 2022 tens of millions of 5G handsets will be sold, and as a proportion of total handset sales will reach low single-digit percentages,” Hyers said.

That said, the first 5G handset trials will commence in 2018. Short battery life, the lack of 4G handover or unstable connectivity are among the expected problems that will surface. Strategy Analytics expects that these issues will be largely resolved and the first batch of units will carry very high price tags.

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