5G deployments are gaining traction and pace globally. In a recently released whitepaper on 5G readiness, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) predicts that 68% of countries it studied will have implemented 5G by the end of 2021.
As operators and businesses decide which markets will offer the best returns on 5G, there are several factors they have to consider, says EIU.
“Strong and affordable infrastructure (spectrum and base stations) will form the foundation, but operators will need to find the right 5G products and services to sell. The business environment and policy directives will also play a crucial role in determining how 5G capabilities are used in the most efficient way,” explains Laveena Iyer, Research Analyst, EIU.
“For instance, despite late spectrum auctions, Europe has recorded a high industrial uptake of 5G, as enterprise applications were at the core national 5G plans in the region. The US-China dispute poses the biggest risk to 5G rollout across all regions, second only to delays caused by the pandemic."
Among the interesting findings from the EIU report:
- An early start in 5G preparation, along with better management of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in 2020, has helped many Asian countries to free up spectrum in the higher bands in order to forge ahead on 5G rollouts.
- Gulf countries are also among the most 5G-ready globally and offer significant market opportunities for providers of next-generation technologies.
- Despite lagging in spectrum auctions, Western European countries are at the forefront of testing and rolling out 5G-based industrial applications.
- Inadequate spectrum policy and lack of regulatory coordination have held back 5G development in the US, but progress is being made under the Biden administration.
- A 5G-specific policy that covers auctions, deployment targets and trials, coupled with government support in the form of tax incentives or low-cost loans, is the best way to support faster rollouts, in our opinion.
- The US-China dispute over Huawei poses the biggest risk to 5G rollout across all regions, second only to disruption caused by Covid-19.
The EIU 5G Readiness report looks at deployment strategies, opportunities and challenges across the globe and can be downloaded here.