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The 5G Race Is On, With IoT as the Top Use Case


The 5G Race Is On, With IoT as the Top Use Case

Tyler Durett August 30, 2016

By Stéphane Téral, senior research director, mobile infrastructure and carrier economics, IHS Markit

Bottom Line

  • 54 percent of IHS Markit’s survey respondents see 5G as evolutionary—an extension of current Long Term Evolution (LTE), LTE-Advanced and LTE‑Advanced Pro; the rest think 5G is revolutionary, moving away from cellular and requiring a brand new architecture
  • Meanwhile, three-quarters of respondents think 5G should be codependent with LTE and LTE-Advanced, which suggests the evolutionary camp should have garnered a larger lead
  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is the top 5G use case

Our Analysis

This year’s 5G survey clearly indicates that 5G developments are booming and well underway with pre-commercial trials set for 2017–2018 and commercial deployments starting in 2020 or later. Because the 5G standard won’t be available until 2020, this ongoing 5G race is quickly leading to a marketing battle around what 5G truly is, similar to what happened with 4G versus LTE in 2010.

There is substantial work ahead aimed at defining 5G. In fact, in June 2015, the ITU chose IMT-2020 as its official designation of what will one day be standardized as 5G. The ITU-R Working Party 5D of the UN’s telco arm finalized its 5G vision and rubber-stamped it as IMT-2020. The next step is to establish detailed technical performance requirements for the radio systems that will support 5G, taking into account a wide portfolio of future scenarios and use cases. The Working Party will then set out its evaluation criteria for how it will assess candidate radio interface technologies.

Our survey data suggests a gradually clarifying picture: 4G will not evolve to meet 5G requirements, so 5G requires a new radio access technology (RAT), architecture, etc. All of this means that 4G will continue to evolve in parallel to 5G and won’t be superseded by it.



Meanwhile, ultra-low latency is survey participants’ chief 5G upgrade driver as well as their toughest technology challenge.

Finally, industry will drive 5G, and consequently 5G networks should be designed to enable vast IoT connectivity. This explains why IoT was rated by 79 percent of operator respondents as the top use case for 5G, up from 55 percent in last year’s study.

5G Survey Synopsis

The 19-page IHS Markit 5G survey takes an in-depth look 5G technologies and market trends and mobile operators’ plans for deploying 5G networks.

For information about purchasing this report, contact the sales department at IHS Markit in the Americas at (844) 301-7334 or AmericasLeads@ihsmarkit.com; in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at+44 1344 328 300 or technology_emea@ihsmarkit.com; or Asia-Pacific (APAC) at +604 291 3600 or technology_APAC@ihsmarkit.com.