5G connections in China to reach 428 million by 2025: GSMA

China smartphone user5G connections in China will reach 428 million by 2025, accounting for 39 per cent of the 1.1 billion global 5G connections, said GSMA.

The GSMA report did not mention about the 5G market in India which is home to telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone, Reliance Jio, BSNL, among others.

Telecom operators in China will launch commercial 5G networks by 2020. China will be the world’s largest 5G market by 2025, according to a new study by GSMA Intelligence and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

“In its early phase, 5G will offer an enhanced mobile broadband experience that will enable next-generation consumer services such as augmented and virtual reality, while at the same supporting mission-critical applications across a range of industry verticals,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA.

Mobile operators – China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom — in China plan to run a phased testing period for 5G networks from 2017 to 2019 before launching commercially in 2020.

Operators are expected to deploy ‘standalone’ 5G networks, which will require the construction of new base stations to site 5G equipment, backhaul links and a core network.

Some Asian telecoms are considering to deploy ‘non-standalone’ 5G networks that would run on existing infrastructure supplemented by targeted small cell deployment in areas of high density, allowing 4G and 5G services to run in parallel.

GSMA said 4G penetration is China has increased five-fold to 61 percent over the two-year period to March 2017.

4G and 5G networks are expected to co-exist in China for a considerable period of time. The rate of 5G network rollout and adoption in China is also expected to be slower as compared with 4G, which Chinese operators were able to deploy rapidly earlier this decade within a mature 4G ecosystem.

5G investment in China will follow a gradual path and over a longer timeframe than 4G, roughly seven years, from 2018 to 2025 – with Capex not expected to account for more than 25 percent of operator revenue prior to commercial launch.

5G networks will concentrate on boosting the capacity of 4G networks to support rising cellular data traffic demands.

5G will also enable enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services such as 4K/8K Ultra-HD video and augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) applications.

Though some services will require devices with new form factors, the smartphone is expected to remain the principal 5G interface at launch. The first 5G smartphones are likely to be priced at a premium to 4G models, as they will require an enhanced chipset and RF module supporting multiple sub-6 GHz, and possibly extremely high frequency bands (mmWave), as well as, potentially, a 4K or 8K screen.

Enterprise space is considered to offer operators the largest incremental revenue opportunity. Key vertical markets for 5G applications include automotive and transport, logistics, energy and utilities monitoring, security, finance, healthcare, industrial, and agriculture.