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Heavy Reading Research

5G Experts Pit Reality Against Predictions

It's always interesting to see how prophetic every news and blog outlet becomes at the start of a new year. It's almost as if those responsible for producing copy feel they'll be scorned if they don't jump on the "hot trends for X" bandwagon.

The result is a ton of stories that all begin to run together because... well, they're all pretty much the same. Take the top tech prediction du jour: 5G. It's easy to skim through endless reams of predictions for 2018 -- many of them written by folks that clearly have no understanding of what 5G is.

There's even one example out there that promotes 5G as the next best thing because it will free up 2G, 3G and 4G networks for the Internet of Things (IoT). Why is that important? Because, the writer says, in the future, when he is about to board a subway, his connected watch will notice a difference in his heartbeat, utilize the now-available 2G network to alert the subway he's on to bypass all stops in favor of one with a hospital, where paramedics will be waiting to address his likely heart attack.

I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

In lieu of predictions for 5G, Heavy Reading's Thought Leadership Council (TLC) held a Q&A forum with 13 communication service providers (CSPs) with 5G expertise, the results of which are found in the newest TLC report, 5G Focus Group: Vendors Needed To Fulfill 5G Network Buildouts. Council members were asked a series of 12 questions about 5G deployment plans, revenue opportunities and how the market is shaping up.

The big takeaway from the discussion is that 5G telecom equipment vendors are starting 2018 with these highly qualified CSPs saying that they need equipment for 5G buildouts. Only 15% of TLC service providers have chosen the vendor(s) they plan to use for 5G; another 31% of Council members haven't even started the 5G vendor selection process.

Also interesting are the market opportunities these CSPs see as the strongest for 5G networks. Despite the scenario imagined above, every service provider surveyed except one sees Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a primary market opportunity for 5G networks. Other market opportunities these service providers experts believe 5G networks likely will be used to support include public safety and enterprise telephony.

TLC is a Heavy Reading research initiative that consists of panels of CSP experts focused on key areas of telecom development, including B/OSS Transformation, SD-WAN, Internet of Things (IoT), Automation, 5G and Emerging Technologies & Services (Project 2025). Members participate in Q&A forums several times a year, and all information disclosed by Council members remains anonymous.

— Denise Culver, Director of Online Research, Heavy Reading

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