Global 5G Update – Q1 2020

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 Global 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 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.

As expected, at the end of Q1 2020, China led rest of the world in 5G subscribers by a mile and then some. And Korea, predictably leads in subscriber penetration. With T-Mobile’s merger approval behind us, we are likely to see some acceleration in 5G growth in the US but nowhere at the pace of what China is experiencing. China is so far ahead that by the end of Q1, their reported subscriber base was FIVE times more than the rest of the world combined. China Mobile itself has more subs than all operators outside of China, combined. So, for folks who hung their hat on “5G Race” being about subs or coverage, race is over, find a new hobby. Of course, our regular readers knew 3 years ago that this would happen. For ecosystem players who seek to develop a platform based on 5G, the work is just starting.

Global 5G Update provides strategic insights and a snapshot of the salient points on 5G progress in Q1 2020

  • 5G in Q1 2020
    • Overview
    • 5G Race
    • Impact of Covid19 on 5G
    • Subs and Penetration
  • 5G Data Consumption
  • Does 5G Increase ARPU?
  • 5G Progress
    • China
    • Korea
    • US
    • Rest of the World

Your feedback is always welcome.

Editorial Note:

Chetan Sharma Consulting Research Papers and Quarterly Updates have long shaped the industry dialog. Based on reader feedback and demand, 5G Global Update is now available as part of the subscription service. You can send a note to research AT chetansharma DOT com to inquire about pricing.