While eagerly anticipated for some time, 5G has been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. With more people telecommuting, streaming content, taking online classes, and engaging with others via teleconferencing while adhering to stay-at-home orders, demand has exploded for greater speed and capacity in residential broadband networks. This supports healthy long-term growth in data usage over wireless networks (i.e., mobile broadband), which has increased by nearly 13 times since 2008 and is expected to continue to surge globally in the next few years.1
5G is well positioned to benefit from that trend. Poised to augment and eventually replace the current 4G network, 5G offers the speed, capacity, reliability, and ultra-low latency required to meet wireless demand for such use cases as 4K video, IoT connected devices, and autonomous vehicles. Major carriers have proof-of-concept trials underway in most regions to set the stage for the transition to the 5G infrastructure and have already begun rolling out new 5G solutions.
Carriers have also ramped up their capital spending to deliver next-generation speeds. This significant investment will continue to fund further building out of the infrastructure to accommodate growing 5G adoption, creating a strong market for providers of build-out related offerings. These include players specializing in niche or specialty engineering, technical services with a telecom focus, and regional or smaller providers of maintenance, installation, and fulfillment services. Few of these providers possess significant scale, which creates an opportunity for buyers to build a market leader through M&A that can capitalize on the rollout and continued robust adoption of 5G in the coming years.
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