SK Telecom tipped to lead 5G era as Europe faces challenges to maximise success, claims report

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European operators have missed out in Juniper Research's assessment of the five "most promising" telcos that will deploy 5G.

A new report identified SK Telecom as the most promising operator to deploy 5G, followed by NTT DOCOMO, KT, China Mobile and AT&T. It said SK Telecom had stood out because of the volume of millimetre wave, Massive MIMO transmission and network splicing testing it had undergone during the past two years.

The research house said it took an operator's "development, breadth and value of partnerships and progression of 5G network testing" into consideration when assessing a telco's potential.

There was more bad news for Europe with the prediction that 66 percent of all 5G operator-billed revenues would come from the United States and the Far East & China by 2025.

Juniper Research predicts that global service revenues will hit $269 billion by 2025, up from $851 million in 2019, when 5G is expected to launch. It said there will be a compound annual growth rate of service revenues of 161 percent during the first seven years of 5G.

Operators need to take into consideration a wide range of strategies to maximise return on investment because of an expected drop in ARPU, according to Juniper Research. It said software-based technology would lower investment costs and generate a return on investment from 2024.

Sam Barker, the report's author, said: “Network virtualisation will become increasingly prominent as operators aim to lower expenditures. Adoption of the technology is critical to the wide-ranging demands of future 5G networks."