Telecom operators in Asia are overly optimistic about the 5G business outlook and are moving forward aggressively with deployment plans.
This was among the findings of a study conducted by Vertiv and technology analyst firm 451 Research, which polled more than 100 global telecom decision makers with visibility into 5G and edge strategies and plans.
Twelve percent of operators expect to roll out 5G services in 2019, and an additional 86% expect to be delivering 5G services by 2021.
According to the survey, initial services will be focused on supporting existing data services (96%) and new consumer services (36%). About one-third of respondents (32%) expect to support existing enterprise services with 18% saying they expect to deliver new enterprise services.
Vertiv said 5G itself is expected to become a key enabler of emerging edge use cases that require high-bandwidth, low latency data transmission, such as virtual and augmented reality, digital healthcare, and smart homes, buildings, factories, and cities.
However, illustrating the scale of the challenge, the majority of respondents (68%) do not expect to achieve total 5G coverage until 2028 or later; 28% expect to have total coverage by 2027 while only 4 % expect to have total coverage by 2025.
"In Asia, operators are optimistic that they are ready to deploy 5G in the next few years. But with the growing reality comes a new set of challenges including increased energy consumption, existing infrastructure readiness, and visibility as well as manageability of sites" said Danny Wong, senior director for telecoms at Vertiv Asia.
"There is all the more a pressing need for telecom operators to identify and utilize energy-efficient and innovative power and thermal – solutions to make 5G a reality," he added.
Vertiv released the report in conjunction with its participation in Dell Technologies World, a global exposition focused on digital transformation.
"5G represents the most impactful and difficult network upgrade ever faced by the telecom industry," said Brian Partridge, research vice president for 451 Research.
"In general, the industry recognizes the scale of this challenge and the need for enabling technologies and services to help it maintain profitability by more efficiently managing increasingly distributed networks and mitigating the impact of higher energy costs," he added.