As a result of the exponential cellular data growth that will come from the launch of 5G technology, global network operators will generate 77 percent of their revenue from 5G services, reaching $600 billion by 2026.

This prediction is coming from a new study from Juniper Research, which found out that the adoption of 5G services across consumer and IoT sectors has been driven by a strong uptake of 5G-capable devices, coupled with attractive 5G subscription pricing models, despite the semiconductor crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Titled ‘Operator Revenue Strategies: Challenges, Opportunities & Market Forecasts 2021-2026’ the research urges operators to leverage their 5G networks and high levels of virtualisation to develop new IP-based services that generate additional revenue streams. It identified emerging 5G-based consumer devices, such as laptops and mobile routers, as a key area of focus for operators over the next few years.

Commenting, Research co-author Charles Bowman remarked: “Device vendors are capitalising on faster networks to add mobile connectivity to new consumer devices, and operators must respond by enabling users to access 5G across multiple devices under a single subscription; allowing subscribers to conveniently manage data.”

Meanwhile, the research has also identified that multi-device subscriptions is key to maximising 5G revenue, anticipating that as geographical 5G coverage expands, operators will capitalise on revenue streams beyond smartphones.

It also recommended bundling multiple device subscriptions under a single recurring payment to enable operators to benefit from connectivity revenue from other consumer devices.

Cellular data to grow 300% over next five years

Also, the report forecasts the amount of cellular data generated will reach 2,900 exabytes by 2026; rising from 720 exabytes in 2021. This represents a growth of 300% over the next five years. It predicts this growth will be driven by an increasing demand for data over 5G connections and a substantial growth in cellular IoT devices.

Cellular IoT devices, including smart city devices, smart home sensors and connected agriculture, will grow substantially over the next five years. By 2026, the research predicts the number of cellular IoT devices will reach 6 billion; exceeding the global number of smartphones for the first time.


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