5G will emerge with a bang in some countries and a whimper in others, as each proceeds at different rates and directions. But almost everywhere there will be a rapid expansion of mobile communications riding a wave of new spectrum over the next five years. Despite the disparity in 5G deployments almost every region plans to allocate dedicated spectrum or has already done so, often in all three bands.
This is reflected in the latest RAN Research forecast entitled “Fixed wireless access will combine with new uses cases to drive 5G surge in high bands“, which shows the number of cells devoted to 5G expanding in all regions, picking up quickly within a few years even in many countries where spectrum has not yet been made available.
This latest report and forecast, part of the RAN Research service was built form a combination of interviews with technology vendors and a survey of 57 leading operators.
It is clear that there will be rapid expansion in the newer area of private mobile networks driven by vertical sectors such as automotive and manufacturing, where operators face being squeezed out by enterprises working directly with infrastructure providers.
Rethink predicts the 5G boom will begin in the mid band sweet spots between 1 GHz and 6 GHz but will then pick up in the higher millimeter wave (mmWave) bands where more spectrum is available but at shorter range.
This will lead to rapid proliferation of micro infrastructure, especially small cells, because existing towers are too big and unsightly for the urban settings where mmWave will mostly be deployed, especially at first. The amount of spectrum awarded in the mmWave will dwarf that in the lower bands.
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