Mobile operators across the world are assessing their 5G strategy with first-mover advantage in mind, but it is firms in Asia that are expected to lead the way, according to a new survey.
Research from InterDigital shows how the early money is on Asia to lead development and deployment of 5G, with 71% of the operator community forecasting the region to make the first move.
It's perhaps little surprise that there is such a strong belief in Asia, with a number of telcos having already set a date when they expect to enter the 5G market.
Japanese operator DoCoMo says it plans to coincide its first 5G offering with the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, while in Korea SK Telecom plans to have a 5G systems prototype on display at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.
Other operators are equally optimistic they will be able to offer 5G services sooner rather than later, even if they are not prepared to outline a launch date at present. In fact, one in three anticipate being able to launch commercial 5G service before 2020 is out. However, the majority said they will be focusing primarily on development work and field trials until 2022.
When asked what would be the primary drivers for 5G technologies, better broadband performance (76%) and the Internet of Things (74%) ranked highest in the report.
Meanwhile, in terms of the technology that is expected to underpin 5G, operators are expecting to be able to incorporate two or more radio interfaces, rather than have to develop an altogether new 5G radio.
The report's author, Gabriel Brown, commented on the prospect of 5G and what challenges potentially lie in wake.
"5G will impact everything – every industry, every service provider, and every person on the planet," he wrote.
"However, to bring a new generation of wireless technology to the mainstream is a colossal undertaking that requires R&D collaboration, spectrum, and a business case."