10 most important 5G business trends to watch in 2022

The fallout from COVID-19 prevention measures, the process of transitioning from pandemic to endemic disease, and global political tensions weigh heavily on the coming year’s fortunes. Supply chain issues look set to continue, 5G will continue to struggle in the enterprise sector and won’t be seen on the production line, UWB will start to bring precise location to the fore, and the Chinese vendor community will retain its stranglehold on the IoT module market. More about 5G world find out below.

Check out 10 key points about what will and will not happen on the 5G business front in 2022.

China Will Become the Leading Nation in the 5G Enterprise Market

China is the world’s largest 5G consumer market, with more than 400 million 5G end-device connections. Currently, the country is ready to accelerate enterprise 5G adoption, as industrial adoption presents greater opportunity than consumer services.

Currently, 5G applications have been deployed across 20 different industries, primarily in manufacturing, energy, healthcare, tourism, and agriculture. In addition, more mature applications are also emerging in the port and mining sectors. A key success factor is China’s spectrum strategy. The authority has reserved the 6 GHz band for 5G deployment entirely, unlike the United States, which saw the full allocation to Wi-Fi and other technologies. Considering China’s rapid 5G development, sufficient spectrum resources are crucial.

The 6 GHz band would play an important role in providing wide-area coverage like the 3.5 GHz band, providing opportunities for future enterprise applications.


5G Supply Chain Challenges Will Not Be Lifted 5g world

The U.S. government entity list has created a balkanized market where Chinese vendors have remained confined to the Chinese market for growth, and western vendors have now been denied access to the lucrative and massive Chinese 5G market.

ABI Research expects these restrictions to remain in place in 2022 without further escalation from either side. Moreover, the semiconductor shortage will continue, affecting Chinese vendors the most. Huawei and ZTE are expected to face additional shortages for their flagship products, namely smartphones and Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (mMIMO) antennas, causing them to slow down sales in markets outside China to satisfy large orders by China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom.

Regardless, Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese vendors have invested significant capital and effort in 6G R&D already, and will continue to do so in 2022, meaning that 6G Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) may be dominated by China. This may create complications, market distortions, or even standards fragmentation if Chinese vendors are banned from major international markets in the future.


5G Enterprise Spectrums in the Asia-Pacific Region Will Not Achieve Alignment

In the Asia-Pacific region, there is a disparate outlook on the prospects of 5G enterprise spectrums. While China has pushed the 6 GHz spectrum band, South Korea has published the release of the 4.7 GHz and 28 GHz bands to operators and non-telcos as enterprise spectrums for 5G deployment. Taiwan set off on its own direction, having established the world’s first smart factory powered by a private 5G mmWave network in 2020.

Meanwhile, Malaysia is likely not supporting the drive of 5G enterprise spectrums, and no 5G enterprise spectrum has been published to date for Indonesia. These examples indicate the disparity between the 5G deployment methodology across regions, which would likely perpetuate until new policies or plans are launched to override the existing ones.

5G Will Not Permeate the Production Line 5g world

As of July 2021, there were 84 sites with publicly announced private cellular network (4G/5G) deployments. All are at large companies and facilities like ABB, Airbus, Daimler AG, Ford, Haier, Konecranes, and Nippon Steel. Important, current deployments are mostly used as campus networks or in a lab or intermediary production development center for non-industrial production applications.

In its current form, working with and trialing 5G in manufacturing favors large companies/factories with the R&D capital to test and learn. These larger companies and locations have started to evaluate the cost and benefits of different deployment scenarios (a key progression); however, 5G will not be relied upon for production-critical applications at scale until 2024.

Telco Infrastructure Vendors to Remain Profitable Due to Massive MIMO Expertise

In 2022, ABI research expects operators to continue to deploy mMIMO in new markets. Moreover, operators that have already launched 5G will start deploying the new generation of 5G mMIMO to improve network performance and lower energy consumption. Ericsson and Nokia will experience a healthy business, which will also be driven by Huawei equipment swap-outs. For mMIMO, 64T64R will be mainly deployed in dense urban areas with high data traffic, while 32T32R will likely be sufficient for urban and suburban areas.

There will be regional differences in terms of mMIMO deployments, with Japan, South Korea, and Europe deploying 32T32R, while the United States is actively deploying 64T64R. As 5G starts to move toward the suburbs, Chinese operators will start deploying 32T32R instead of 64T64R, which will also be driven by the semiconductor shortage among Chinese vendors.

Smartphone Manufacturing Will Not Relocate Quickly Outside of China

As the pandemic started to take a grip on the devices industry, it quickly became clear that many in the smartphone supply chain were woefully unprepared to react quickly and had been over reliant on one market—China—for their manufacture and component supply. This led to the realization for many that a change and re-evaluation of their strategies was needed in a shake-up of production and supply chains. Many vendors considered diversifying production, and reducing their reliance on a single country, manufacturer, or technology supplier, thereby alleviating future supply chain risks.
The outbreak has contributed to many along the supply chain accelerating and building up production capacity outside of China and rearranging their supplier deployments, crystallizing a need to fully understand their risk and exposure all along the chain. However, this will not happen overnight, as such an undertaking is not easy and relocating outside of China will take time. In the longer term, it will be incumbent on vendors and suppliers to put in place robust contingency planning to decentralize future production and mitigate future market disruptions. Implementing a fundamental change in production is not just about building a device, but also managing the supply chain and procurement process, which are still inextricably linked to China.


5G mmWave Smartphone Shipments Will Not (Yet) Reach Critical Mass in 2022

The industry’s move toward the use of 5G New Radio (NR) Millimeter Wave (mmWave) technology had been challenging to be of practical use in mobile devices, mainly due to limited coverage and being overly costly to implement. However, with many of these technology barriers having been overcome, 5G mmWave is now a commercial reality in smartphones as the complexity of integrating it into smartphones has been addressed through the use of an evolved system approach and a fully integrated Radio Frequency (RF) module design, offering improved performance, latency, reliability, and efficiency.
After a slow start, mainly limited to the U.S. market, ecosystem momentum for mobile mmWave is gathering pace as a number of regions are targeting deployments, expanding across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, led by operators in the countries of Japan, Russia, Italy, South Korea, and Australia, with China expected to join the roster in early 2022, coinciding with its hosting of the Winter Olympics. Even with tangible indicators that mmWave is beginning to appear in greater numbers of smartphone models, now including Apple iPhone Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), and has matured enough to support ultra-thin foldable smartphone designs, it is not expected to hit a critical mass of smartphone shipments in 2021 and will account for less than 5% of global sales.
An mmWave smartphone sales inflection point is expected by 2022, as it is forecast that, by this stage, mobile operators will need to extend their network capacity and performance beyond sub-6 Gigahertz (GHz), forcing many to turn to mmWave.

5G Positioning Will Not Replace Alternative RTLS Technologies

The ability of 5G to combine connectivity with high-precision positioning into a single infrastructure has the potential to significantly enhance the value proposition of 5G rollouts and enable new Location-Based Services (LBS) within a variety of enterprises. End-market verticals, such as manufacturing, healthcare, warehousing and supply chain, transportation, and oil, gas, and mining are among them.

Implementing 5G positioning can make LBS more accurate, precise, reliable, and seamless across both indoor and outdoor environments. However, it is still in the early days of maturity, and there are several obstacles that will have to be addressed before it can be widely adopted.

Starlink Will Not Be a Global Player 5g world

Starlink, the potential Initial Public Offering (IPO) spin-off to SpaceX, has made great strides in getting more than 1,600 LEO satellites into space. This is transforming the experience of rural users frustrated by not being able to access always-on broadband speed, but it will still be a while before Starlink has the comprehensive satellite constellation coverage to provide backhaul links to mobile cellular operators.
If Starlink does want to take on the global backhaul links market, it would potentially need close to its maximum constellation target of 42,000 satellites.


Direct Satellite-to-Phone Services to Take Off from 2022 5g world

The commercial launch of satellite-to-mobile phone communication is set to happen in 2022. Industry pioneers, such as Lynk, AST SpaceMobile, and Omnispace, have been developing a Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication platform to enable mobile users to communicate via satellites without requiring any additional hardware. Lately, Lynk has demonstrated two-way data exchange between a cellular phone and a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite. Similarly, AST SpaceMobile and Rakuten Mobile have also announced the start of testing the technology in 2021.
Discussions between satellite operators and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to launch direct communication between satellites and mobile phones are currently in progress. The services are expected to enter the market once regulation agreements are set in 2022. 3GPP Release 17, which includes discussion regarding the integration of satellite platforms and 5G infrastructure, is set to be completed in 2022. This is expected to be the main driving force for direct satellite-to-mobile phone communication services from 2022 onward. 5g world


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