5G Update – Q4 2019

5G has been in the news for more than a year now. While there is a lot of noise, there is quite a bit of progress with real network launches, handset introductions, consumer adoption, new applications and services. Chetan Sharma Consulting is starting a new 5G Update as part of our research service to help our clients make informed strategic and business decisions, to understand the trends and how they might shape their product roadmaps. Mobile networks and devices started launching around Q2 2019 and so we have had 9-12 months of data from Korea, US, and China on what’s happening on the ground. For the first time, handset cycle is ahead of the network cycle. Furthermore, operators need to be really strategic about how they deploy CAPEX and plan new revenue generation 4th Wave strategies. The structure of the wireless industry is likely to look quite different coming out of the 5G cycle than going in. There are early indications of how this might pan out but operators, regulators, and the encompassing ecosystem needs to adjust to the new realities, fast.

5G arrives at an interesting point in industry’s evolution. For the first time, the network upgrade cycle is taking place amidst declining or flat service revenue growth for the operators. In the US, the service revenues declined for three straight years before returning to modest growth recently. The story is same for other mature markets. Even operators in developing markets are facing challenges. It is time to rethink the operator operating model. There is a path to revenue growth and EBITDA expansion, but it is complicated, as it requires new business models, infusion of software-driven network management, investment in vertical expertise, and rethinking the business from the ground-up.

5G Update provides a snapshot of the salient points on 5G progress in 2019

  • 5G in 2019
    • Overview
    • % Penetration
    • Subs growth
  • 5G Data Consumption
  • Does 5G Increase ARPU?
  • 5G in the US