Spirent Communications, a leading provider of test, assurance and analytics solutions for next-generation devices and networks, today released its inaugural 5G outlook report, based on analysis and takeaways from hundreds of global 5G engagements. The “5G: What To Expect In 2020” report draws on the company’s expansive work with operators, network equipment manufacturers and device makers, which reveals accelerated 5G timetables as strategies shift in search of true market differentiation and a quicker path to revenue growth.
“2019 brought worldwide 5G Non-Standalone deployments but meaningful revenues were elusive as operators struggled to break out with market-defining services that could ignite consumer enthusiasm,” said Spirent head of 5G, Steve Douglas. “Spirent’s report goes behind the scenes of our 5G testing engagements to explore what went as planned, where there were stumbles and why the outlook is brightest as stakeholders evolve strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities, especially in the enterprise.”
Key findings from Spirent’s “5G: What to Expect In 2020” report include:
5G Standalone coming earlier than expected. There is a rush to move past Non-Standalone (NSA) to Standalone (SA) rollouts in an effort to capture revenues in industries like manufacturing, automotive, mobile gaming, manufacturing and beyond. Based on testing timetables, Spirent expects a slate of 5G SA deployments in the first half of 2020. Smartphone performance challenges extend beyond the device itself. 5G device performance pains stemmed from issues related to the vast number of antennas that must be packed into devices, but also challenges introduced by 5G New Radio, which was not tuned to exploit all capabilities defined within standards. The result sometimes produced performance that looked more like 4G LTE. Experiences were not optimized to wow consumers. In cases where 5G did deliver anticipated speeds, feature sets and apps were not optimized to take advantage of the speed and bandwidth, meaning consumers couldn’t discern a major experience difference. Spirent expects mobile gaming to be among the earliest consumer use case to capitalize on customized 5G performance boosts. Assurance now a requirement, not an afterthought. Spirent closed the year having kicked off the first nationwide North American 5G assurance deployment as operators seek to shore up network performance in a bid to deliver the robustness and reliability that will be demanded by enterprise customers. Some of 5G’s biggest advancements are happening underground. It is ultimately transport networks that will support the data deluge 5G is expected to attract. Significant investment is going toward assuring these networks won’t collapse under heavy demand, with expansive testing efforts underway right now.
Nearly half of Spirent’s customer engagements are with network equipment manufacturers prepping solutions that will power next-gen networks. More than a quarter of the company’s work is with operators testing network performance and deploying assurance solutions. About one-fifth is with device makers readying consumer and enterprise offerings, with the remainder focused on entities within sectors such as academia and government. Engagements around 5G transport, core and RAN comprise about three quarters of Spirent’s deals, with the rest coming from emerging areas like chipsets, devices, assurance, security and automation.
Spirent’s “5G: What To Expect In 2020” report offers a broad view of market-wide 5G challenges, opportunities and plans, with a focus on transport, connected devices, and assurance and automation. Emerging trends that span security, edge computing, integrated access backhaul, mobile video and test-as-a-service are explored, as well as the near-term and long-term 5G use cases expected to drive adoption and investment.