Operators in Japan and South Korea have established themselves as clear leaders in the development of 5G technology, according to a report by Juniper Research. The company analysed over 50 global operators for its ‘5G Operator Positioning Index’, ranking NTT Docomo, SK Telecom, LG U+, KT Telecom and Softbank as the leading players based on criteria including the results of 5G testing and trials, the extent and range of partnerships in the 5G ecosystem and the level of technology innovation. Operators including AT&T and China Mobile closely followed the top 5 players, said Juniper.
The report also predicts that 43 percent of global 5G connections will be located in Japan and South Korea in 2019 and that total connections will scale rapidly to 1.5 billion by 2025, with initial growth driven by fixed wireless access to replace or complement current broadband connectivity. However, the challenge for operators will be to demonstrate tangible benefits to businesses and consumers over existing fibre-based solutions.
Other significant challenges highlighted in the report include finding far greater access to sites to upgrade and share equipment, and boosting investment in virtualised networks to enable both more efficient traffic management and improved security in the network perimeter.