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Rising Mobile Network Demand to Drive Mobile Communication Industry to 5G in 2016, According to TrendForce

Much of the development of the global mobile communication sector this year involves telecom operators expanding the 4G network. Next year, mobile operators will be working feverishly to upgrade their networks to LTE and to grow the 4G user base with bundled service and end device packages.

“In 2016, new opportunities will come from the development of the 5G network,” said Kelly Hsieh, senior manager for mobile communication and end device research at TrendForce. “The improvements in the next generation of wireless networks will be related to the integration of different platforms as well as innovations in both interface and hardware. Realization of unified services and content experiences will be a main selling point for mobile communication solutions next year.”

According to TrendForce’s estimation, about 610 million units of LTE devices will be shipped this year, representing a huge 59.3% annual increase. Annual shipments of these devices are also expected to reach almost 900 million in 2016.

The following is a summary of trends in mobile telecommunication industry in 2016:

VR and AR applications to diversify with the widespread adoption of 4G smart devices

The development of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies has gained additional momentum owing to the expansion of 4G networks and cloud computing as well as upgrades made on smart mobile devices. As they gradually penetrate a wide range of applications, VR and AR technologies will stretch the upgrade capabilities of the current generation of smart mobile devices. To get the full experience of VR gaming and entertainment, consumers will be encouraged to buy higher-end mobile devices. Hence, the maturation of VR-based applications will be crucial to the advancement of the mobile communication industry next year. Additionally, growth in AR applications will accelerate, particularly in manufacturing and professional training purposes. Currently, smartphones still constitute an important platform for the development of VR and AR products.

Retail 4.0 will greatly enhance customer experience by integrating the online and offline marketing

Consumers’ increasing reliance on mobile devices for shopping is driving “Retail 4.0.” In this revolution, communication technologies such as near field communication (NFC) and beacon systems have become vital in helping retailers do big data analytics and in providing seamless online-to-offline shopping experience. 

Hsieh pointed out that physical stores combined with accurate location-based services (LBS) can offer enriched customer experience for mobile users, including indoor navigation, personalized mobile ads, mobile point of sale (M-PoS) and even intelligent store management. “Shopping will eventually take place in an “omnichannel” with the integration of online and offline marketing,” said Hsieh.

Major telecom operators rush to take the initiative in building the 5G network

The requirements of the 5G network is being drafted and a standard for the next-generation wireless technology is scheduled to appear in 2020. However, there is already a fierce competition among major network equipment providers to play the leading role in defining 5G. Aggressive contenders such as Ericsson, Nokia Networks and Huawei each have their own 5G strategies and are starting to invest in related infrastructure.

Hsieh noted that 5G will support many applications: UHD video, improved cloud-based services and intelligent transportation systems to name a few. Since the next-generation standard emphasizes speed and connectivity to support real-time operations, future communication technologies will be suitable for complex tasks that need to be expedited, such as traffic operations and surgeries.

Moreover, the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) will emerge as the next crucial market following smart homes. As the wireless communication module market maintains a strong growth momentum, the share of IoV application in the total wireless communication module shipments is projected to expand rapidly, from less than 5% in 2015 to 30% in 2017. Next year, major car makers are going to concentrate on developing vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication technologies so that they can quickly bring autonomous driving systems into the market. Once the Wireless Communication Protocol for vehicles has been established, the industry will begin launching new vehicles with V2V capability.

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