The fifth generation of wireless networks, or simply 5G, has been commonplace talk by research firms for most of the last decade. Now, Omdia, in its “2021 Top Trends” report, part of the “Connecting the Dots” series, adds a voice in what we should expect to see this year.
First, the company expects 5G subscriptions to reach 0.5 billion this year. Although some telecom providers have launched 5G previously, Omdia expects 2021 will mark the second wave of acceleration of deployments.
“Globally, 5G will reach 553 million subscriptions in 2021,” the report says. Omdia notes that 5G distribution will be more balanced this year as the US and Europe will leverage the introduction of Apple’s 5G devices.
In 2021, Omdia predicts the 5G market will be “ignited” as the coverage continues to be dense and broader. Comprehensive coverage will pave the way for more applications.
“With markets approaching critical mass, the deployment of wide-ranging and denser 5G coverage will also facilitate the commercial adoption of 5G in B2B and B2B2x markets—these have, so far, have been limited to testbeds small and large trials.”
Affordable 5G devices are also incoming, which should increase adoption.
The report notes that service providers are pushing for sub-$300 5G-capable phones, but Omdia says “emerging-market affordability is still some time off.” So 5G will remain typical business for rich economies in 2021.
On January 4th, Qualcomm announced its first Snapdragon 4-series chipset that is 5G capable and will power devices in the $125 to $300 range. This will be a game-changer aimed at bringing 5G to the mass market. Of course, it goes without saying that 5G adoption is also dependent on service providers.
According to the US Chipmaker, the first Snapdragon 480-powered budget 5G phones are expected to launch by March.