5G spending to top $3 billion
Michelle Clancy
| 23 June 2014
4G may be struggling to roll out in some places, but the discussion is moving forward on what's next: 5G, a collection of nebulous guidelines meant to address the exploding requirements for carrying video that consumers seem to require.

Theoretically 5G services will be able to support speeds up to 1,000 times faster than today's 4G LTE networks and allow for 4K UltraHD streaming, 3D streaming and other digital video innovations.

SNS Research's latest report indicates that R&D spending on 5G wireless technology is expected to reach $3 billion annually by 2020. While 5G is yet to be fully defined, many believe that 2020 will mark the start of the 5G era with a potential infrastructure revival, as consumer mobile broadband subscriptions peak to over 70% and M2M connections continue to proliferate.

In that time, the Web will consume resources at an alarming clip: Global IP traffic (fixed and mobile) is expected to reach an annual run rate of 1.4 zettabytes ― more than a trillion gigabytes per year – by 2017, according to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast. That's a three-fold increase from 2012. On a monthly basis, global IP traffic is expected to reach nearly 121 exabytes per month by 2017, up from about 44 exabytes per month in 2012.

Global network users will generate 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month, that is six million years of video per month, or 1.2 million video minutes every second or more than two years' worth of video every second, most of it from mobile connections.

Now, a recent collaboration deal between South Korea and the European Union to jointly define global standards for 5G signifies the importance of global harmonization, which is necessary to ensure the full potential of the technology, is met.

"Driven by government-led initiatives, academic institutes and the private sector, we expect 5G R&D spending will account for nearly $3 billion by 2020, up from $500 Million in 2014," the research firm said.