5G connections to hit 1.4b by 2025 but IoT revenues will disappoint: report

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5G connections will grow from around a million in 2019, the anticipated first year of commercial launch, to 1.4 billion by 2025 – an average annual growth of 232%, according to a new report from Juniper Research.

China, the US and Japan will account for 55% of those 5G connections by 2025, Juniper forecasts. Also, the US alone will account for over 30% of global 5G IoT connections by 2025, with the highest number of 5G connections for fixed wireless broadband and automotive services.

However, Juniper warned that in terms of commercial IoT revenues, Juniper forecast that the ARPC (average revenue per connection) would be disappointing, including smart cities and digital health, due to low data requirements and nominal duty-cycles. The report urged operators to develop new business models to minimize network operating costs, including software-based solutions to manage the diverse requirements of individual 5G IoT connections.

The report also advised that maximizing connectivity revenues through 5G fixed wireless broadband would prove crucial to offset this disappointment, with ARPC forecast to remain above $50 until 2025.

The report also warns that to be successful, 5G fixed wireless broadband would need to meet expectations in real-world scenarios to compete with fiber broadband.

“Operators and vendors must test their networks in a real-world environment at scale, ensuring speeds can compete with fiber services,” noted research author Sam Barker. “Networks that can deliver the highest speeds and greatest reliability will command the highest ARPCs, hastening an operators’ return on 5G investment”.

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