Juniper Research forecasts that 80% of global operator-billed service revenue will be attributable to 5G services by 2027
Mobile operators are forecast to generate $625 billion from 5G services globally by 2027, up from $310 billion in 2023, according to recent analysis by Juniper Research.
The new report predicts that this growth of 100% over the next four years will be chiefly driven by the migration of mobile subscriptions to 5G networks, and the increasing inclusion of eSIMs in devices such as laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots.
Juniper Research also forecasts that 80% of global operator-billed service revenue will be attributable to 5G services by 2027; allowing operators to secure a return on investment into their 5G networks. However, the increasing implementation of eSIMs into new devices will drive global cellular data traffic to grow by over 180% between 2023 and 2027, as data traffic is offloaded from fixed and Wi-Fi networks to 5G.
“eSIM-capable devices will drive significant growth in cellular data, as consumers leverage cellular networks for use cases that have historically used fixed networks. Operators must ensure that networks, including 5G and upcoming 6G networks, are future‑proofed by implementing new technologies across the entirety of networks,” said research author Frederick Savage.
To prepare for this increasing demand in cellular data, the report predicts that 6G standards must adopt innovative technologies that are not currently used in 5G standards. It identified Non‑terrestrial Networks (NTNs) and sub-1 THz frequency bands as key technologies that must be at the center of initial trials and tests of 6G networks, to provide increased data capabilities over existing 5G networks.
However, the research cautions that the increased cost generated by the use of satellites for NTNs and the acquisition costs of high-frequency spectrum will create longer timelines for securing return on 6G investment for mobile operators. As a result, it urges the telecommunications industry to form partnerships with specialists in non-terrestrial connectivity, to benefit from lower investment costs into as-yet-unstandardized 6G networks.
A separate report by Juniper Research recently forecasted that the embedded SIM market is expected to grow from about $4.7 billion this year to $16.3 billion by 2027—representing 249% growth during the period.
The total number of smartphones that use eSIM will jump from about 986 million this year to 3.5 billion by 2027, Juniper estimates. The analyst firm say that eSIM-enabled consumer devices, like Apple’s eSIM-only iPhone 14, will trigger increased operator acceptance of the technology.
China and India are expected to account for about 25% of smartphones that use eSIM by 2027, with the United States making up about 10% of the projected smartphone eSIM market. But, Juniper notes, that depends on the tech being developed to the satisfaction of the Chinese government, which currently does not allow its domestic device manufacturers to sell eSIM devices in their home market because eSIM does not allow the level of device monitoring and tracking required by the Chinese government. Juniper said that growth of eSIM in China will depend on country-specific standards being implemented.