A new report has claimed that the number of 5G connections in place around the world will reach almost 1.5 billion by 2025, with these generating 955 exabytes of data traffic a year by this point.

The forecast, from Juniper Research, estimates that between 2019, when the first commercial 5G networks are expected to become available, and 2025, operator revenues from the technology will increase from $894 million (£688 million) to more than $300 billion.

This equates to average annual growth of 163 per cent over the six-year period, and means that even though 5G will still only account for 14 per cent of the world’s mobile connections by 2025, it will make up 38 per cent of the industry’s total revenue.

Research author Sam Barker added: “5G for home broadband services will be the biggest driver in growth of cellular traffic after initial launches. By 2025, the average 5G home broadband connection will generate over 430GB of data per month.”

With 955 exabytes of traffic a year set to pass through these networks every year – the equivalent of 143 billion hours of 4K video streaming – operators will need to develop new technologies that reduce that cost-per-bit of 5G in order to ensure the future viability of their solutions.

This should include network virtualisation in order to provide on-demand network agility for the data intensive demands of 5G connections.

As part of this, Juniper predicted that research and development spending by 5G operators, hardware vendors and public bodies around the world will have totalled nearly $60 billion by the end of 2018.

Indeed, this year alone he expected to see network operators spend nearly $30 billion on trialling networks in preparation for commercial launches in 2019.

In the UK, Vodafone recently announced what it claims is the country’s first 5G-only trial that covers multiple locations and does not rely on 4G as a backup, ahead of its commercial launch next year.

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