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TrendForce Says 2018 Will Mark the Official Start of the 5G Era With South Korea and Japan Leading the Commercialization Efforts

Compared with the 4G mobile networking standard, 5G offers faster data transfer, greater wireless area coverage and lower latency. According to market intelligence firm TrendForce, major vertical markets such as manufacturing, transportation and healthcare will rapidly adopt 5G in addition to the consumer market. For mobile network operators, their traditional telephony and data services are bringing less average revenue per user than before. Thus, upgrading to 5G will help diversify and expand their revenue base.

The 5G era will begin in earnest in 2018, when South Korea’s telecom industry will be demonstrating related technologies at the Peyoenchang Winter Olympics. However, the commercialization of the new standard is not going to take off until 2020.

Kelly Hsieh, research director of TrendForce, pointed out that South Korea and Japan are currently the most aggressive in working towards the commercial deployment of the 5G network. “The 2018 Peyoenchang Winter Olympics and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics present opportunities for the respective countries to test their technologies,” noted Hsieh. 

During the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korea’s SK Telecom will try out end-to-end 5G access units (e.g. base stations) plus other core services for smartphones and other mobile devices. At the same time, the country’s other major operator Korea Telecom will also leverage the 5G network to show off new types of media content and broadcasting technologies, such as sync view, 360 VR scenes and time slicing transmission. These technology demonstrations will provide a viewing experience that is more immersive than ever before.

With 5G driving demand for GaN components, the market for RF front-end components used in cell phones will grow to US$26 billion in 2022

“From the technological perspective, the 5G standard involves the deployment of Massive MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) antenna systems to transmit data at mmWave (millimeter wave) frequencies,” said Hsieh. “This represents a platform breakthrough in the integration of wireless technologies.”

Because 5G networks use higher frequency bands, they require RF front-end components based on materials with high PAE (power added efficiency), high power density and other advanced properties. “Components based on GaN (gallium nitride) fits the requirements for power amplification under the 5G standard,” said Hsieh. “In the future, the expansion of the 5G network will propel the demand for GaN components used in mobile devices.”

The arrival of the 5G era will furthermore drive market demand and technological advances in infrastructure, equipment and devices. The deployment of Massive MIMO will increase the number of antennas in each cellular base station, and this in turn accelerates the technological developments of antenna equipment as well as core solutions for device-to-device communication. In addition, the formation of Ultra dense network (UDN) will shift RF equipment demand towards the small cell market segment.

After mobile networking made the general transition to the 5G standard and the related applications have been established, specifications of smartphones and other end devices will be raised to support higher carrier frequencies. According to TrendForce’s research, the total value of the global market for RF front-end components used in cell phones is projected to grow from US$11 billion in 2017 to around US$26 billion in 2022.

TrendForce will hold its IT Industry Forecast for 2018 on the 29th of this September in Room 201 of National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) International Convention Center, located at No. 2, Xuzhou Road, Zhongzheng District 101, Taipei City.

For more details on this event, please visit: or contact us via telephone or email.

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