Looking back to December 2019, the following 12 months were really supposed to establish 5G as a permanent fixture in global communications markets and realising the potential in the many use cases that 5G was intended to make good on. Prime examples were autonomous vehicles and telehealth.
But health issues of another kind have led to a year that, although not throwing a massive spanner in the works for 5G, have led development onto unintended path.
Despite the fears of many that 5G roll-outs would be delayed or just not possible – due mainly to the adverse economic conditions caused by Covid-19 and simply not being able to get infrastructure construction workers to work – the year has actually witnessed increased 5G investment during the pandemic, rising by double digits compared with 2019’s forecast and with 5G-related jobs set to soar.
Indeed, a December 2020 study released by Qualcomm Technologies forecast a potential 5G-related boom over the next 15 years despite the pandemic’s effects on the global economy, with a 10.8% net increase in global 5G investment compared with the 2019 forecast, and a rise in 5G-related jobs to 22.8 million by 2035.
Yet one issue for the telecoms market