together with technology analyst firm 451 Research, today released the
report on the state of 5G, “Telco
Study Reveals Industry Hopes and Fears: From Energy Costs to Edge
Computing Transformation.” The report captures the results of an
in-depth survey of more than 100 global telecom decision makers with
visibility into 5G and edge strategies and plans. The research covers 5G
deployment plans, services supported by early deployments, and the most
important technical enablers for 5G success.
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Well over three-quarters (86%) of the 451 Research survey respondents will deliver their first 5G commercial services in 2020 (53%) or 2021 (33%). (Graphic: Business Wire)
Survey participants were overwhelmingly optimistic about the 5G business
outlook and are moving forward aggressively with deployment plans.
Twelve percent of operators expect to roll out 5G services in 2019, and
an additional 86 percent expect to be delivering 5G services by 2021.
According to the survey, those initial services will be focused on
supporting existing data services (96 percent) and new consumer services
(36 percent). About one-third of respondents (32 percent) expect to
support existing enterprise services with 18 percent saying they expect
to deliver new enterprise services.
As networks continue to evolve and coverage expands, 5G itself will
become a key enabler of emerging edge use cases that require
high-bandwidth, low latency data transmission, such as virtual and
augmented reality, digital healthcare, and smart homes, buildings,
factories and cities.
However, illustrating the scale of the challenge, the majority of
respondents (68 percent) do not expect to achieve total 5G coverage
until 2028 or later. Twenty-eight percent expect to have total coverage
by 2027 while only 4 percent expect to have total coverage by 2025.
“While telcos recognize the opportunity 5G presents, they also
understand the network transformation required to support 5G services,”
said Martin Olsen, vice president of global edge and integrated
solutions at Vertiv. “This report brings clarity to the challenges they
face and reinforces the role innovative, energy-efficient network
infrastructure will play in enabling 5G to realize its potential.”
To support 5G services, telcos are ramping up the deployment of
multi-access edge computing (MEC) sites, which bring the capabilities of
the cloud directly to the radio access network. Thirty-seven percent of
respondents said they are already deploying MEC infrastructure ahead of
5G deployments while an additional 47 percent intend to deploy MECs.
As these new computing locations supporting 5G come online, the ability
to remotely monitor and manage increasingly dense networks becomes more
critical to maintaining profitability. In the area of remote management,
data center infrastructure management (DCIM) was identified as the most
important enabler (55 percent), followed by energy management (49
percent). Remote management will be critical, as the report suggests the
network densification required for 5G could require operators to double
the number of radio access locations around the globe in the next 10-15
The survey also asked respondents to identify their plans for dealing
with energy issues today and five years in the future when large
portions of the network will be supporting 5G, which 94 percent of
participants expect to increase network energy consumption. Among the
Reducing AC to DC conversions will continue to be an area of emphasis,
with 79 percent of respondents saying this is a focus today and 85
percent saying it will be a focus five years from now.
New cooling techniques will see the biggest jump in adoption over the
next five years. Currently being used by 43 percent of telcos
worldwide, this number is expected to increase to 73 percent in five
Upgrades from VRLA to lithium-ion batteries also show significant
growth. Currently, 66 percent of telcos are upgrading their batteries.
Five years from now, that number is projected to jump to 81 percent.
“5G represents the most impactful and difficult network upgrade ever
faced by the telecom industry,” said Brian Partridge, research vice
president for 451 Research. “In general, the industry recognizes the
scale of this challenge and the need for enabling technologies and
services to help it maintain profitability by more efficiently managing
increasingly distributed networks and mitigating the impact of higher
Vertiv released the report in conjunction with its participation in Dell
Technologies World, a global exposition focused on digital
transformation. During the expo, Vertiv is also showcasing a virtual
reality (VR) experience that lets users build a sample 3D model data
center and interact with their creations through a VR system.
Vertiv brings together hardware, software, analytics and ongoing
services to ensure its customers’ vital applications run continuously,
perform optimally and grow with their business needs. Vertiv solves the
most important challenges facing today’s data centers, communication
networks and commercial and industrial facilities with a portfolio of
power, cooling and IT infrastructure solutions and services that extends
from the cloud to the edge of the network. Headquartered in Columbus,
Ohio, USA, Vertiv employs around 20,000 people and does business in more
than 130 countries. For more information, and for the latest news and
content from Vertiv, visit Vertiv.com.