COVID-19 update included
The content of this report will be updated with the latest scenarios based on the global COVID-19 Pandemic


Plenty of people, both inside and outside of the telecoms industry, are continuing to beat the drum for 5G - only a few months ago, Sprint Chairman Marcelo Claure was describing the “seismic” move from 4G to 5G as “like going from black and white to color TV” - but the dissenting voices are growing in volume.

They fear that the positioning of 5G as a revolutionary technology that will enable fundamental shifts in how we live and work has served to raise expectations to such a level that the only possible outcome is disappointment. Huawei’s chairman Eric Xu made headlines in April 2018 when he appeared to downplay the impact of 5G stating that, while it was faster and more reliable than 4G, consumers would find no “material difference between the two technologies.”

As telecom operators and equipment makers prepare for the arrival of 5G, it is instructive to look back at the impact 4G has had on the communications market since it was standardized a decade ago. There were just over half a billion 4G subscriptions worldwide in 2014, equivalent to about 7% of the total. By 2018, the number of 4G subscriptions is expected to have grown to 3.6 billion, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 62%, giving 4G a 43% share of all mobile subscriptions. In several markets, 4G penetration is much higher - in the US, for example, 80% of all mobile subscriptions are forecast to be 4G in 2018.

The impact of 5G on mobile subscriptions is set to be even more dramatic, once the technology becomes available. It is estimated that the first 5G subscriptions will appear in 2019, but there will fewer than 5 million worldwide. However, by 2023 the total will have increased to nearly 850 million, at a phenomenal CAGR of 271%. The share of mobile subscriptions that are 5G is expected to jump from 0.05% in 2019 to more than 8% by 2023.

The report "5G - Thematic Research", offers a framework in which to look at 5G, summarizes the important trends, and identifies the key players.The report also helps in identifying winners and losers based on technology leadership, market position and other factors.

Companies Mentioned: AT&T, BT Group, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, KDDI, KT, LG Uplus, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Telecom, Softbank, Telefonica, Verizon, Vodafone, ZTE.


  • This report looks at 5G and its potential impact on not only the telecoms industry but also the broader global economy.
  • It identifies winners and losers among both telecom operators and telecom equipment manufacturers.

Reasons To Buy

  • This report looks at how the major players in the global telecoms industry are preparing for the arrival of 5G, which is expected to become commercially available in 2019.
  • It highlights the main trends in 5G from a technology, macroeconomic and regulatory perspective.
  • Included in the report are forecasts for 5G subscriptions and data traffic, analysis of recent 5G-related M&A activity, and a timeline tracking key developments in 5G.
  • The report also uses a scorecard approach to illustrate the impact of 5G on telecom operators and telecom equipment makers.