Deloitte predicts 50 operators will offer 5G connectivity by 2020

23 Jan 2019

Image: © mooshny/

Deloitte says that network efforts to develop 5G will take time to bear fruit, but the process is well underway.

As global demand for connectivity and digital innovation grows, technology providers are keen to ensure that they can meet the needs of their customers. Deloitte has been monitoring current trends and has released its Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions for 2019.

According to its industry experts, 5G looks set to flourish over the next two years.

The buzz around 5G has been steady for some time now, particularly since June 2018, when the standards organisation 3GPP officially approved the specifications for 5G standalone networks, an occasion the group dubbed “the final sprint towards 5G commercialisation”.

Roll-out beginning in earnest

According to research from Deloitte, 72 operators are currently testing the new network standard and it predicts 25 will be launching 5G services this year, with that figure touted to double by 2020.

In total, more than 1m 5G-compatible handsets are expected to be sold in 2019. This figure is pegged to expand to between 12m and 20m units by 2020. A further 1m modems compatible with the standard are predicted to sell this year.

“Wide-scale adoption of 5G devices will take time, but we believe 2019 will be the starting point for sweeping change for the wireless industry. Indeed, here in Ireland, in 2019 the first roll-out of 5G services should be seen,” said Richard Howard, head of TMT at Deloitte Ireland.

He added: “5G can provide hundredfold increases in traffic capacity and network efficiency over 4G, and this has transformative potential on the future of connectivity worldwide.”

The IoT connection

The roll-out of the new generation of networks is also set to nurture growth in the IoT market, with low latency and superfast download speeds likely to benefit many IoT applications and aid broader deployment. The popularity of connected devices is likely to grow along with the introduction of the new network standard.

According to Deloitte, the most popular smart device will continue to be the smart speaker, predicting that particular market to be worth €6.2bn in 2019. Howard added: “Voice-assisted speaker ownership in Ireland currently stands at approximately 7pc but, with 30pc of Irish consumers owning wireless speakers, we expect to see Irish consumers trading up in the coming years in line with global predictions. However, the industry will have to overcome looming obstacles to reach its full growth potential.”

While the new standard aims to further the flexibility and scalability of current networks, 4G LTE will still continue to evolve and play a major role in creating smooth pathways towards full 5G deployment.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects