LightTrends Newsletter

The 5G money is in your pocket!

February 2022

After heavy digging and research, we did find some 5G money to talk about at the well-attended and successful RCR Wireless 5G Monetization Forum held online on Tuesday February 15. As a follow-up, we thought it would be a good idea to summarize our findings in this short research note. One sure thing, we are still in the early innings of 5G monetization. As widely anticipated in the wireless industry, 5G money starts with enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB). In other words, it’s us, humans, who are footing the bill until a flurry of promised use cases emerges to fulfill the overwhelming expectation that industry, not we the people, will drive 5G revenue and generate significant wealth, which in turn will fuel the nations’ GDP in the long run—2035 is seen as the trigger year.

Figure 1 illustrates the long 5G monetization tail characterized by eMBB as the low hanging fruit communications service providers (CSPs) are going after to harvest, providing consumers are willing to pay a premium for a 5G package. Then, gradually, the promised 5G use cases will eventually kick in with the expectation that by 2035, the revenue they generate will surpass that of eMBB.

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