5G Continues to Drive Industry Opportunities and Revenue

The latest data from GSMA Intelligence (GSMAi) paints a picture of an increasingly connected world.  5G technology is poised to take center stage – more than half of mobile connections are expected to be 5G by 2029.

As of January 2024, 261 operators in 101 countries had launched commercial 5G services, with more than 90 operators committed to rollouts. This rapid expansion is driving a wave of opportunities in various sectors, including enterprise IoT and AI.

The emergence of 5G Standalone (SA) networks is particularly significant, with 47 commercial services currently available and 89 planned deployments in the near term. These networks provide enhanced capabilities including network slicing and ultra-reliable low-latency communications, that pave the way for new applications and services.

“The early success of 5G was driven by enhanced mobile broadband (EMBB) and EMBB-related network traffic requirements,” says Peter Jarich, Head of GSMAi. Yet, while consumer requirements will continue their trajectory, we’re now seeing use cases beyond that. Opportunities are now appearing in areas including API monetization and 5G RedCap for enterprise IoT – all supported by 5G-Advanced and 5G SA networks. 5G SA brings home 5G’s early promise, particularly where slicing, low-latency and massive IoT capabilities tied to enterprise service needs can be met. 5G-Advanced will only extend that further.”

In addition to 5G SA, the upcoming release of 5G-Advanced with 3GPP Release 18 promises to enable operators to deploy advanced solutions, driven by priority use cases such as multicast services and low-cost IoT support.

With mobile data traffic expected to quadruple by 2030, the need for continued infrastructure investments is clear. Expansion in 5G coverage and capacity will play a vital role in meeting this growing demand, ensuring seamless connectivity for users worldwide.

The rise of Generative AI (GenAI) is expected to be a significant factor fueling this growth, with applications ranging from AI-enabled chatbots to AI-generated video and music content.

With new use cases comes the need for new billing standards to support advanced network services. The GSMA worked with its members, including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom and Vodafone, to develop and launch a new Billing and Charging Evolution (BCE) standard to replace Transferred Account Procedures (TAP). The BCE Standard represents a simplified charging model for operators looking to implement 5G SA networks.