The number of telcos involved in 5G trials has more than doubled during the past 12 months, new research from Ericsson has found.
The vendor's annual 5G Readiness Survey found that operators are speeding up their plans for deploying the technology, with 28 percent of respondents planning to roll out an early form of 5G next year to coincide with the likes of the World Cup in Russia.
Operators' 5G strategies are becoming more diverse, with companies looking beyond consumer applications. Ericsson said planning is dominated by specialised industry segments, which 58 percent of operators are looking at, followed by business users at 56 percent and consumers at 52 percent.
Media and entertainment, automotive and public transport were the three most common industry sectors highlighted by operators as key, but the survey found healthcare and energy and utilities were also attractive.
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Thomas Noren, Head of 5G Commercialisation, Ericsson, said: “In the 2016 survey, 90 percent of the respondents pointed to consumers as the main segment in their 5G business planning. This year, it is an even split between three segments and operators have identified business opportunities not only in the consumer segment but also with enterprise users and specialised industries.”
Earlier this week, Franz Seiser, VP Core Network and Services, Deutsche Telekom, told delegates at SDN NFV World Congress that it was critical for operators to tackle every 5G use case.
Elsewhere in the survey, respondents also said the Internet of Things will be central to 5G but third party collaboration will be needed in order to make this particular area work.
Operators will get a return on investment from an increased market share, shifting subscribers from LTE onto new contracts, charging higher prices for new services and by expanding into new industry segments, respondents added.
Ericsson interviewed 50 executives across 37 operators who have previously announced they are working on developing 5G networks.