Deloitte upgrades outlook for private 5G

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Over 1,000 companies will be testing private 5G nets by the end of 2020, according to revised forecasts by Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) team.

The original predictions for 2020 relating to edge AI chips, private 5G, robots and more were released in December but have been updated to reflect the expected impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deloitte originally forecast that “more than 100” companies worldwide would have begun testing private 5G deployments by the end of 2020, collectively investing a few hundred million dollars in labour and equipment.

Not the COVID-19 effect

In its update, the consultancy firm said there was no change due to COVID-19 but added that its original prediction was low.

“The number of companies testing private 5G deployments is on pace to be well over 1,000 at the end of the year,” the revised forecast said.

According to Deloitte’s tracking of tests, the number of companies testing private 5G networks was far ahead of its forecast already in Q1, and “tests don’t cost much”, Deloitte noted.

Chips down

The outlook for edge AI chips has been revised down slightly due to an expected fall in smartphone sales. In December, Deloitte predicted that in 2020, more than 750 million edge AI chips would be sold, representing $2.6 billion in revenue. It now forecasts 650 million chips worth $2.2 billion will be sold.

“We expect a decline in global smartphone sales of about 7 to 10% for the full year, but sales of high-end smartphones could be down even more, and these smartphones are the biggest users of edge AI chips for now,” the updated outlook explained.