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5G Forecast to Drive $1.3 Trillion in Media Revenue

What does this projected 10-year boom mean for electronics?

In a newly released report by Ovum titled, “5G Economics of Entertainment Report,” it is forecast that over the period of 2019 to 2028, “media and entertainment companies will be competing to win a share of a near-$3 trillion cumulative wireless revenue opportunity. Experiences enabled by 5G networks will account for nearly half of this revenue opportunity (close to $1.3 trillion).”  

The press release announcing the report highlights a quote from Jonathan Wood, general manager of Business Development & Partnerships, 5G Next Generation and Standards at Intel.  “5G will inevitably shake up the media and entertainment landscape,” Wood proclaims, “It will be a major competitive asset if companies adapt. If not, they risk failure or even extinction. This wave of 5G transformation will not be the purview of any singular industry, and now is certainly the time for all business decision-makers to ask: Is your business 5G-ready?” 

Among the report’s highlights:

  • As early as 2025, 57% of global wireless media revenues will be generated by using the super-high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G networks and the devices that run on 5G.
  • 5G will accelerate content consumption, including mobile media, mobile advertising, home broadband, and TV, and it will improve experiences across a broad range of new immersive and interactive technologies—unleashing the full potential of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and new media.
  • Average monthly traffic per 5G subscriber will grow from 11.7 GB in 2019 to 84.4 GB per month in 2028, at which point video will account for 90% of all 5G traffic.
  • AR and VR experiences will generate $140 billion in cumulative revenues (2021-2028)
  • Immersive and new media applications—applications and capabilities that are currently nonexistent—are forecast to generate more than $67 billion annually by 2028 or the value of the entire current global mobile media market (video, music, and games) in 2017.

What Does This Forecast Mean for Electronics?

Clearly, Intel is promoting these results because of the company’s plans to enable this 5G media economy, developing and delivering advanced semiconductor solutions to power “a whole new universe of devices (estimated in the billions) attached to the (5G) network.” The development of 5G will require the creation of advanced server/storage/cloud hardware and communications infrastructure, as well as the consumer devices that will be used to consume this new media content.

However, a quote by Ed Barton, chief analyst of the Entertainment Practice, Ovum, points to the broader implications of 5G technology. Barton poses the compelling question, “What will not be impacted or disrupted by 5G?” While Ovum’s report focuses on the exciting media opportunities, the opportunities enabled by 5G reach well beyond high-bandwidth, low-latency applications.

5G is designed to deliver powerful benefits to a wide range of applications. It is argued that current 4G technology is entirely adequate to support most wireless applications, especially in commercial and industrial applications. However, this assumes that cost savings by using older technology outweighs potential benefits of the new 5G networks. It also overlooks the benefits of integrating more closely into the 5G network and the synergies that can derived from the ecosystem that will be created. In a highly competitive environment, how many companies are content to invest in “good enough”?

The exciting news for hardware and electronics components designers is that 5G will entail the redesign of almost every type of electronics hardware. The combination of 5G, the cloud, and IoT will result in new hardware, software, and communications architectures and open doors of opportunity for all participants in the electronics value chain.

In recent years the common question asked by participants in the electronics industry has been “what will be the next ‘big thing’?” The answer to that question is now clear: It is not an individual device or platform. The next big thing is everything powered by the combined force of 5G, the cloud, and IoT.

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