5G to get 100 million users in 5 years due to small cell issues

5G will take 5 years to reach the first 100 million subscribers because the growth will be slow in the initial years due to complexity of small cell, said ABI Research.

Though 5G subscriber growth will be slow due to the increased complexity of 5G cells and networks, it will gain momentum in 2023.

4G LTE network grew thanks to demand for high-end broadband and the recent availability of LTE devices and smartphones.

ABI Research says it will take more than 5 years for 5G to reach 100 million subscriber mark — 2 years longer than 4G.

Mobile industry association GSMA last week said telecom operators will invest $1.7 trillion in mobile network infrastructure during 2014-2020 and main focus will be 4G LTE networks.

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Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA, said: “5G is still to be standardized by the industry and it has not been fully agreed what 5G will look like or what it will enable.”

Telecom industry body 4G Americas last week said the world has 373 million LTE connections in September 2014. LTE 4G connections in North America have grown to 145 million subscriptions, representing 36 percent of the 398 million total mobile subscriptions in the region in the third quarter of 2014.

Countries, which are early builders of 5G networks have large population, of which a large percentage is living in urban areas. Network companies are pushing their IoT strategies in these countries. IoT will drive 5G growth.

5G network

ABI Research Director Philip Solis said: “United States, China, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom will have substantial 5G subscribers in 2025.”

5G will encompass spatial division as the foundation of the air interface, leveraging techniques like massive MIMO and 3D beamforming to form narrow beams that divide the space around a 5G base station.

Client devices will have links to multiple cells simultaneously for robust connectivity. Spectrum will be used flexibly and shift as needed between access and fronthaul and backhaul. The waveform and modulation scheme are the least clear aspects of 5G currently.

ABI Research said 5G network will be a network of small cells and will be practical in urban and industrialized environments for the population density and the reflections in urban canyons.

The telecom analysis report predicts that the industry can expect a scaled down version of 5G to use existing spectrum for macrocells as well in the longer term. Telecom regulatory issues concerning concentrated RF beams in centimeter and millimeter wave spectrum will be complex for the 5G network industry.

Baburajan K
editor@telecomlead.com