Global 5G revenues are expected to more than double in the next four years as applications related to the metaverse will spur demand for 5G services, according to new research from TrendForce.
5G revenues are expected to rise to $37 billion by 2026, up from $14.5 billion this year, TrendForce forecasts. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.0% during the forecast period.
The main application segments of the 5G market will remain industrial manufacturing, energy and utilities, medical solutions, smart vehicles, public transportation and consumer electronics. TrendForce sees 5G planning a vital role in the development of platforms for mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).
TrendForce said the metaverse applications won’t make a difference until the next few years but when these applications become developed, they will help with 5G revenue.
Metaverse seeks to create a shared platform among users as opposed to traditional video-based communications. Metaverse creates digital twins of users for real-time interactions through speech, visual cues, movements and more.
This could come from augmented or virtual reality and control interfaces that allow users to sense and operate in a virtual environment. However, these applications need a lot of data to perform well and without latency which is perfect for 5G technology.
The market research firm said the market for Metaverse-related applications will take at least two to three years with development efforts focused on:
- Social media
- Multi-player games
- Education services
- Simulation training
- Remote collaboration
- Virtual meetings
Equipment vendors preparing
All the major 5G networking equipment vendors — Nokia, Ericsson and Huawei — are eyeing the Metaverse for new opportunities and are developing equipment and network environments to accommodate future applications.
These companies are also investing in resources to upgrade network equipment and optimize network environments to handle the high-speed computing demand generated by large-scale and real-time virtual interactions of the Metaverse.
Specifically, Nokia is developing two key Metaverse technologies through its Bell Labs subsidiary. These are human augmentation and digital-physical future.
Ericsson is working on time-critical communication as one of its core 5G offerings. Huawei is deploying hardware across markets in North America, Europe and Africa for future Metaverse operations.