Research quantifies 5G's potential in roaming and manufacturing

27 July 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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From roaming to connected factories, two pieces of research released this week have set out new business cases for the monetisation of 5G and private networks.

A Juniper Research study published yesterday said the global number of roaming subscribers using 5G services will grow from 4.5 million in 2021 to 210 million in 2026 – an increase of 4,500%.

However, with international travel largely grounded as 5G technology was introduced in key markets, 5G roaming has not fully been put to the test.

Juniper Research said the anticipated rise in data "will necessitate the establishment of novel agreements that explicitly cover 5G roaming data", while also providing roaming subscribers with a comparable user experiences whilst outside their home territory.

It further recommended that operators now focus on increasing 5G roaming support to accommodate the future rise in demand for data when roaming over 5G networks.

Research author Scarlett Woodford said: “As demand for international travel returns, operators must adjust to the significant uptake of 5G subscriptions during the pandemic. A failure to provide 5G roaming capabilities in key travel destinations will diminish brand reputation amongst subscribers and lead to churn to competitors.”

The news broke as another piece of research estimated that 5G could provide a £6.3 billion boost for manufacturing, specifically across the United Kingdom, by generating new efficiencies and increasing productivity.

Those figures – published by Vodafone and analysed by WPI Economics – were backed with a call to action for the government to facilitate the roll out and use of 5G by supporting manufacturers to invest in technology over the next decade.

Highlighting the key areas for action, the report said 5G can support manufacturing through bespoke 5G mobile private networks, predictive maintenance, and the implementation of AR and VR.

Anne Sheehan, business director, Vodafone added: “We are only beginning of the 5G journey, but through our work with Ford, we know it offers huge potential for the manufacturing sector and beyond.  To realise this potential, we need to all get behind it, from Government and Ofcom creating the right policy and regulatory environment, through to businesses embracing the power of innovation, and of course us as network operators creating this network of the future.”