5G

U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Spending Forecast, 2016-2026: Moving from LTE to 5G

Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks are now firmly established in the U.S. with the majority of mobile subscribers using LTE devices. To meet the increasing demand for mobile bandwidth, especially to support video, the larger mobile operators are in the process of upgrading their LTE networks, and densifying the cellular architecture. The next major iteration of mobile networks will be 5G, due to be deployed at the end of this decade.

iGR forecasts that the LTE market will continue to grow and dominate the U.S. mobile landscape for the foreseeable future. iGR expects that subsequent versions of LTE (and the associated new features) will form the basis of new 5G networks in the next few years. To support additional LTE capacity, mobile operators are increasingly refarming 2G spectrum, as well as acquiring additional spectrum resources through auctions and private transactions.

The demand for mobile data bandwidth will continue to rise and mobile operators are continually balancing their network spending between coverage and capacity. The engineers strive to provide sufficient coverage to be competitive and sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the growing subscriber base, while minimizing unnecessary network spending. As well as spending on new network builds, this includes minimizing network operating costs wherever possible.

This report forecasts the LTE infrastructure investment and network operating costs, and presents a forecast for the cost of building, deploying and operating 5G networks in the U.S. beginning in 2017 and continuing through 2026.

The sideshow with 5G, of course, is the marketing associated with the term itself. Will history repeat itself? Or will operators show some restraint and only market their improving networks as 5G when the ITU-R releases its IMT-2020 5G standard in the 2020 timeframe?


Key Questions Answered

  • What are the various 3GPP standards leading up to 5G and what are they likely to contain?
  • What are some of the goals and use cases for 5G?
  • What is 5G? How is it defined and/or viewed right now?
  • What is in 5G? When will 5G happen?
  • How close are U.S. LTE networks to 5G now?
  • How will U.S. mobile operators get from their 4G LTE networks of today to tomorrow’s 5G networks?
  • How much will it cost to deploy 5G in the U.S.?
  • How will the amount of data traffic carried on LTE networks grow in the U.S. in the next five years?
  • How much mobile data is each mobile connection expected to consume and how does this change?
  • What is the impact of densification on mobile network spending?
  • How much are U.S. operators investing in LTE?
  • How big is the LTE and 5G infrastructure opportunity in the U.S. in the next ten years?
  • What is the share of LTE infrastructure spending on the network components in the next ten years? What is the share of 5G?
  • How big are the mobile network operating costs in the next ten years?

Who Should Read

  • Mobile operators
  • Infrastructure OEMs
  • Small cell product and solution vendors
  • Backhaul service providers and equipment OEMs
  • Financial analysts and investors.

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Methodology
    • Network Model
    • Current Model Assumptions
    • 5G Model Assumptions
    • Variance from mobile operator financial disclosures
  • Basic Mobile Operator Network Architecture
    • Devices
    • MIMO
    • Wireless Spectrum
    • Cell Sites
    • Fronthaul & Backhaul
    • Mobile Network Core
  • 3GPP Releases and Standards
    • 3GPP Release 11
    • 3GPP Release 12
    • 3GPP Release 13
    • 3GPP Release 14-16
    • Carrier Aggregation
    • COMP
    • ICIC and eICIC
  • What is 5G?
    • Potential 5G Use Cases
    • Latency
    • 5G Network Requirements
    • 5G Timeline
    • Potential Requirements of 5G
  • 5G Network Needs
    • Spectrum Needs
    • How LTE Might Evolve
    • Challenges Along the Road to 5G
    • What will the first 5G networks look like?
    • MIMO & Beamforming
    • MU-MIMO
    • Massive MIMO and mmWave
    • Beamforming
    • Use of MIMO and Beamforming
  • What Operators Are Currently Doing for 5G
    • Densification
    • In-building coverage
    • CRAN and CPRI
    • LTE Release 12
    • Virtualization and SDN
  • U.S. Mobile Connections Estimates & Forecast
    • U.S. Mobile Connections Growth
    • U.S. Mobile Data Traffic Forecast
  • U.S. Infrastructure Build Cost Forecast
    • Methodology and Assumptions
    • U.S. Mobile Infrastructure Build Forecast
    • U.S. Mobile Infrastructure Build Spending by Network Component
    • U.S. Mobile Network Build Spending by Generation
  • U.S. Mobile Network Operating Cost Forecast
    • U.S. Total Mobile Network Cost Forecast
  • Major Mobile Network Infrastructure Vendor Profiles
    • Airspan Networks
    • American Tower
    • Argela
    • Brocade
    • Cisco
    • ClearSky Technologies
    • CommScope
    • Crown Castle
    • Ericsson
    • Fujitsu Network Communications
    • Gemtek
    • Huawei
    • ip.access
    • Juni
    • Juniper Networks
    • NEC
    • Nokia Networks
    • Oracle
    • Quortus
    • Samsung Electronics
    • SBA Communications Corporation (SBA)
    • Sercomm
    • SpiderCloud Wireless
    • Taqua
    • ZTE Corporation
  • Definitions
    • General
    • Device Types
    • Services
    • Network Technology
  • About iGR
    • Disclaimer

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Forecasted U.S. Mobile Connections, 2016-2026 (Millions)
  • Table 2: Assumed Total U.S. Network Usage, 2016-2026 (EBs)
  • Table 3a: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending, 2016-2021 ($M)
  • Table 3b: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Table 4a: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Component, 2016-2021 ($M)
  • Table 4b: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Component, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Table 5a: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Generation, 2016-2021 ($M)
  • Table 5b: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Generation, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Table 6a: U.S. Mobile Network Operating Costs, 2016-2021 ($M)
  • Table 6b: U.S. Mobile Network Operating Costs, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Table 7a: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2016-2021 ($M, Total)
  • Table 7b: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2022-2026 ($M, Total)

List of Charts and Figures

  • Figure A: U.S. Total Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending, 2016-2026 ($M)
  • Figure B: U.S. Mobile Network Operating Costs, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Figure C: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2016-2026 ($M, Total)
  • Figure D: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2016-2026 ($M, Total)
  • Figure 1: Basic Components of Cellular Voice/Data Network
  • Figure 2: Typical Macrocell Site
  • Figure 3: Cell Site Backhaul Capabilities and Use Cases, Wired and Wireless
  • Figure 4: Overview of the EPC
  • Figure 5: Carrier Aggregation, LTE-Advanced
  • Figure 6: Overview of COMP
  • Figure 7: Example of Intercell Interference
  • Figure 8: Example of Coordinated Resource Blocks via ICIC
  • Figure 9: Blanking of subframes in eICIC
  • Figure 10: Average Wired Broadband Latency, Reported by FCC in 2014
  • Figure 11: Timeline for IMT-2020 (5G)
  • Figure 12: Beamforming and MIMO
  • Figure 13: 2x2 MIMO
  • Figure 14: Conceptual view of MU-MIMO
  • Figure 15: Another take on MU-MIMO
  • Figure 16: Analog and Digital Beamforming for mmWave
  • Figure 17: Prototype Massive MIMO Antenna, Lund University
  • Figure 18: Other Massive MIMO Antenna Designs
  • Figure 19: Massive MIMO Antenna Designs / Systems
  • Figure 20: Conceptual view of Analog and Digital Beamforming
  • Figure 21: Inter-relation of Beamforming and MIMO
  • Figure 22: Forecasted U.S. Mobile Connections, 2016-2026 (Millions)
  • Figure 23: Assumed Total U.S. Network Usage, 2016-2026 (EB)
  • Figure 24: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending, 2016-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 25: U.S. Total Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending, 2016-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 26: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending by Component, 2016-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 27: U.S. LTE Infrastructure Build Spending by Component, 2016-2026 (%)
  • Figure 28: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Generation, 2016-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 29: U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Build Spending by Generation, 2016-2026 (%)
  • Figure 30: U.S. Mobile Network Operating Costs, 2022-2026 ($M)
  • Figure 31: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2016-2026 ($M, Total)
  • Figure 32: Total U.S. Mobile Network Build and Operating Spending, 2016-2026 (%)
  • Figure 33: Cisco Universal Small Cell Solution
  • Figure 34: Oracle Communications Security Gateway
  • Figure 35: SpiderCloud E-RAN System

For additional information on the U.S. Mobile Network Infrastructure Spending Forecast, 2016-2026: Moving from LTE to 5G market study, please contact Iain Gillott, at (512) 263-5682 or by email.