5G network will become mainstream in Asia and the US by 2020, but Europe will lag behind as operators seek to make the most of 4G, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData Technology.
The company's latest market report forecasts that over half of all mobile subscriptions will be 5G-capable in South Korea by 2022, compared with only around 7% in Europe.
Ubin Dattani, Senior Manager, Europe for GlobalData Technology, said, "Some mobile markets, such as South Korea and Japan, are well-suited to 5G, with widespread fibre availability, small cell deployments, advanced 4G networks and supportive regulators.
"In Europe, operators are keen to obtain a good return on the substantial capital expenditure made in 3G and 4G investments. While European operators see benefits from more reliable and responsive next generation networks, technological progress will likely be at a more measured pace."
Some pre-standard 5G network trials are being conducted in 2017 worldwide, with a few standardized, commercial services set to commence in 2018 and many more operators launching during the following two years.
Peter Jarich, Chief Analyst for GlobalData Technology, added, "Hopes are running high for the potential of 5G to truly transform mobile business models, and tap new revenue opportunities moving beyond consumers and into diverse digital industries. The implications go beyond any individual operator to impact national and regional competitiveness. Despite this, for all the efforts to fast-track early 5G deployments, it's important to recognize that 5G rollouts will take years to complete; no region or country has won or lost the race to 5G yet."