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Gartner Forecasts Worldwide 5G Network Infrastructure Revenue to Grow 39% in 2021

Worldwide 5G network infrastructure revenue is on pace to grow 39% to total $19.1 billion in 2021, up from $13.7 billion in 2020, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc.

Communications service providers (CSPs) in mature markets accelerated 5G development in 2020 and 2021 with 5G representing 39% of total wireless infrastructure revenue this year. “The COVID-19 pandemic spiked demand for optimised and ultrafast broadband connectivity to support work-from-home and bandwidth-hungry applications, such as streaming video, online gaming and social media applications,” said Michael Porowski, senior principal research analyst at Gartner.

5G is the fastest growing segment in the wireless network infrastructure market (see Table 1). Of the segments that comprise wireless infrastructure in this forecast, the only significant opportunity for investment growth is in 5G. Investment in legacy wireless generations is rapidly deteriorating across all regions and spending on non-5G small cells is poised to decline as CSPs move to 5G small cells.

Table 1: Wireless Network Infrastructure Revenue Forecast, Worldwide (Millions of U.S. Dollars)

Segment 2020 Revenue 2021 Revenue 2022 Revenue

5G 13,768.0 19,128.9 23,254.6

LTE and 4G 17,127.8 14,569.1 12,114.0

3G and 2G 3,159.6 1,948.2 1,095.2

Small Cells Non-5G 6,588.5 7,117.9 7,113.9

Mobile Core 5,714.6 6,056.2 6,273.3

Total 46,358.5 48,820.2 49,851.0

Source: Gartner (August 2021)

Regionally, CSPs in North America are set to grow 5G revenue from $2.9 billion in 2020 to $4.3 billion in 2021, due, in part, to increased adoption of dynamic spectrum sharing and millimetre wave base stations. In Western Europe, CSPs will prioritise on licensing spectrum, modernising mobile core infrastructure and navigating regulatory processes with 5G revenue expected to increase from $794 million in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2021. Greater China is expected to maintain the No.1 global position in global 5G revenue reaching $9.1 billion in 2021, up from $7.4 billion in 2020.

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