Why 5G mobile handsets will drive global 5G adoption

5G handsets will have improved speed, battery life, and processing power, according to a GlobalData report.

Report: The US will have 100 million 5G connections by 2023 5G will aid the growth of video streaming, the internet of things, and augmented reality, says TechRepublic's Conner Forrest.

The emergence of 5G handsets later in 2019, along with the progression of 5G radio and core specifications, will lead the global adoption of 5G for 2020, according to a GlobalData report released Monday. 5G connectivity has been a hot topic over the past five years, but is expected to finally become a reality this year.

5G mobile services will be available in APAC, Europe, and the Middle East in 2019 and in Latin America in 2021, the report said. The first commercial launches of 5G connectivity will also take place later this year in South Korea, Japan, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Finland, and Sweden.

SEE: 5G mobile networks: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Early trials of 5G smartphones have performed similar to high-end 4G phones, with some improvements in speed, battery life, and processing power, the report found. Users shouldn't expect 5G phones from Apple or 5G-optimized silicon from Qualcomm until 2020, however.

''Despite a handful of 5G networks having gone live in late 2018 and early 2019, 5G phone sales will be slow this year due to a lack of national coverage and the typically high initial cost of new-generation phones," Jerry Caron, head of technology at GlobalData, said in a press release.

SEE: Wi-Fi 6: An insider's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

5G radio access networks (RANs) will now be required to have greater mobile broadband speeds, as mobile traffic levels continue to skyrocket, the report said. To strengthen 5G network performance, radio operators will launch new equipment that has a larger number of antenna arrays.

5G Fixed-wireless access (5G FWA) is being presented as one of the biggest commercial 5G use cases, the report said. Major operators plan to offer 5G FWA either before or along with their mobile 5G services.

To learn more about 5G mobile connectivity, check out TechRepublic's 5G mobile network cheat sheet.

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Image: iStockphoto/wooyaa

By Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.