It's no secret that 5G is the next evolution for wireless connectivity, with the standards approved in June 2018. But, it's important to understand just how big 5G—and the technologies that power it—will become.
According to a report from MarketsandMarkets, the 5G infrastructure market will be worth $2.86 billion by 2020 and $33.72 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 50.9%. The report cites the major growth drivers as increased demand for mobile data services, machine-to-machine communication, and a growing need for more speed and better coverage.
In terms of adoption by geography, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will grow the fastest during the forecast period, the report said. However, North America will hold the largest market share during that time.
SEE: Wireless networking policy (Tech Pro Research)
The communication infrastructure that will power 5G is three-fold. Small cell deployments will lead the market, with a $5.6 billion market size by 2026, the report said. The macro cell market will be valued at $2.9 billion, and the radio access network (RAN) market is predicted to have a value of $436.1 million by 2026.
For core network technologies, network function virtualization (NFV) will grow to the largest market size, built on a CAGR of 71.2%. According to the report, software-defined networking (SDN) will have the second largest market, but will only have a CAGR of 55.7%. The third largest market will belong to multi-access edge computing (MEC), with 65.8% CAGR. Fog computing (FC) will have the largest CAGR at 73.2%, but the smallest market size.
As 5G gets applied to real-world use cases, industrial automation and consumer electronics will benefit the most. Here's how the 5G infrastructure market will break down by application, and its percentage share of the market in 2026:
- Automotive - 16.1%
- Energy and utilities - 11.8%
- Healthcare - 8.9%
- Retail - 5.8%
- Intelligent buildings and infrastructures - 7.9%
- Industrial automation - 20.5%
- Consumer electronics - 18.4%
- Home automation - 2.8%
- Public safety and surveillance - 7.9%
No matter how it pans out, 5G is coming, and its impact is unavoidable. For more detailed information about the infrastructure market for 5G, check out the full report from MarketsandMarkets.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The APAC region 5G infrastructure market will grow the fastest between 2020-2026, but North America will have the largest market share. — MarketsandMarkets, 2018
- Network function virtualization will have the largest market size in 2026 among 5G core network technologies, built on a CAGR of 71.2%.— MarketsandMarkets, 2018
- IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- What is 5G? Everything you need to know about the new wireless revolution (ZDNet)
- 5G mobile networks: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- 5G mobile: Arriving not with a bang, but a whisper (ZDNet)
- 5G adoption: The first 3 industries that will be at the forefront (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.