The global 5G rollout would next year slowly focus on employing the standalone mode of 5G New Radio (NR) technology, the Market Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC, 產業情報研究所) said yesterday as it released a report on the top 10 network and communication trends for next year.
While more than 50 telecoms around the world have set up 5G networks using the non-standalone mode of 5G NR technology, which is supported by existing 4G infrastructure, the standalone mode would become more prominent as more next-generation technologies — such as smart manufacturing, smart healthcare and smart transport — come into play, MIC research director and senior industry analyst Lee Chien-hsun (李建勳) said in the report.
Lee said that China’s three biggest telecom operators, China Telecom Corp (中國電信), China Mobile Ltd (中國移動) and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (中國聯通), South Korea’s SK Telecom and KT Corp, and the US’ Verizon Wireless Inc, AT&T Inc and T-Mobile US Inc, are all set to launch 5G NR standalone deployments next year.
Next year would also be a turning point for global smartphone shipments, MIC said, predicting that shipments of 5G smartphones would rise to 260 million units, as consumers look to replace their 4G smartphones, and increase further to 540 million units in 2021.
The institute also predicted growth in shipments of semiconductors, radio frequency components, heat dissipation parts, printed circuit boards, passive components, antennae and DRAM, along with upgrades of 5G device components.
As the Chinese market is set to dominate with its sheer number of 5G users, Taiwanese and Japanese suppliers stand to benefit from the situation, as a trade spat between China and the US has hampered supplies from both countries, the report said.
Shipments of high-speed network switches are likewise set to grow, along with demand for high-performance computing and edge computing, MIC said, adding that new 5G related applications include low-latency cloud gaming, augmented reality, virtual reality, vehicle-to-everything communication and smart manufacturing.
The mid-band spectrum that operates between the 1 gigahertz and 6 gigahertz frequencies would also become a strong focus for 5G services, as it offers a middle ground while still providing good speed and coverage, the report said.
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