Spirent Communications has released its annual 5G outlook report, based on analysis and takeaways from over 800 new global 5G engagements. The “5G 2022: Market Drivers, Insights and Considerations” report provides insights from across the 5G ecosystem on the current status of 5G, revealing geographic trends, technology advancements and revenue-generating use cases.

Commenting on the report, Steve Douglas, Head of Market Strategy, Spirent Communications, said, “Spirent has embarked on 1,800 5G engagements to date. In 2021 we saw service provider engagements increase by more than 50 per cent year-on-year as customers race to make 5G a reality. Market competition intensified, and the impact of the pandemic accelerated business automation plans. As a result, service providers established early partnerships with public cloud providers, and almost half of service provider activity focused on service assurance and service experience, including competitive benchmarking. It’s clear that the cloud-native and continuous testing automation strategy Spirent is able to offer is proving highly desirable to service providers, enabling us to become a critical 5G partner. By moving test labs and testing activity into the cloud, operators are able to accelerate their software and innovation lifecycles from months, or even years, to just a matter of weeks.”

The report draws on Spirent’s work with service providers, network equipment manufacturers, governments, device makers and cloud players worldwide.  It provides an update on the developments along the journey to global 5G.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Geographic trends– Spirent’s 5G business in the Americas grew by more than 40 per cent in 2021, with a focus on service assurance, standalone (SA) core, cloud testing and service experience. The EMEA market saw more than 60 per cent growth in engagements, after pandemic-induced delays in 2020. Attention centred on the 5G core and automation. With China taking the lead in the APAC region, network coverage, densification and subscriber growth continued to drive demand for multi-speed transport network and device testing.
  • Revenue-generating use cases– Operators are evaluating key areas where they can mine meaningful revenues. These include fixed wireless access (FWA), mobile multi-player gaming, augmented and virtual reality, security surveillance, content delivery networks, 5G speed boosters and 5G multi-view experiences.
  • 5G core and cloud – Spirent is engaged with more than 40 unique operators worldwide, including multi-country providers. There have been at least 19 small commercial SA launches to date, with more than 90 trials and vendor selection processes underway. And where there’s core, there’s cloud. Core and cloud combined now represent more than one-third of Spirent’s 5G work.
  • Private 5G networks– Spirent estimates that the number of private LTE or 5G networks will explode from around 3,000 today to more than 14,000 in just a few years. The growth will be driven by trends including enterprise digitalisation strategies advanced by 5G and Wi-Fi 6 convergence, capitalising on breakthrough technologies across internet of things (IoT), big data analytics and intelligent automation.
  • 6G vision- The industry is beginning to coalesce around key ambitions. Chief among them is the combination of physical, digital, and biological worlds into metaverse-like realms where holographic, tactile feedback and physiological sensations can be transmitted. Remote operation of industrial machinery and virtual teleportation represent the earliest conceptions of possibilities.