2021 represented another year of unprecedented progress for mobile and after crunching the data from more than 1,800 5G engagements to date, Spirent is proud to share our view of the road ahead for next-gen network rollouts.
In every geography we serve, all signs point to a race to revenue that is being pursued via increasingly divergent paths.
But these pursuits are not without a host of challenges. Following pandemic-driven ups and downs, early performance woes and sluggish adoption rates, 5G stakeholders understand that uncertainty has become a permanent passenger on their journeys.
So how are 5G stakeholders navigating this constantly changing terrain?
Our third annual 5G outlook report once again explores highlights from the past year, trends driving activity, and predictions for the year ahead.
Buckle in and.
What we learned from more than 800 new 5G engagements
Spirent CEO Eric Updyke opens this year’s report acknowledging a primary strategy we’ve recognized across many hundreds of customer engagements: Do whatever it takes.
We believe this pervasive mindset will persist for the foreseeable future as stakeholders open up to new approaches in the name of 5G success. After all, playing it safe isn’t an option when revenues can’t come fast enough, and competition is creeping in from outside telecom.
With this in mind, key developments and takeaways explored in our 2022 report include:
Operators are all in. Following years of early engagements with 5G enablers like network equipment manufacturers, our work with operators surged with engagements increasing 50% versus the previous year, driven by accelerated 5G network rollouts.
5G core is driving adoption. 5G core testing was our single biggest customer engagement focus, representing nearly one-third of our overall next-gen network activity when combined with closely aligned cloud engagements. By our estimation, there have been 19 5G standalone (SA) commercial launches to date, with more than 90 trials and vendor selection processes underway.
Service assurance is on a major upswing. Our service assurance business posted the most substantial growth numbers across our 5G business, with related activity increasing nearly 70% versus the previous year. Notably, 5G core and service assurance engagements started to have a unique emphasis on supporting more bespoke environments for enterprises and private networks.
Partnerships reign supreme. After decades of maintaining hyper control, operators are increasingly placing trust outside of respective organizations with partners offering targeted expertise they lack inhouse, a trend accelerated by the pandemic with continued momentum driven by unprecedented pressure to move rapidly at virtually any cost.
Automation keeping the pace. Advancements in automation are right on time as the needs of dynamic, disparate environments demand more than manual processes can support. Whether for 5G in the cloud, software-based infrastructure, private campuses, autonomous vehicle networks or beyond, the trend of automated active testing and assurance systems based on highly realistic traffic emulation versus legacy monitoring is now widely considered table stakes for success.
Cloud-native and continuous test proving its value. Operators are recognizing that by moving labs and testing into the cloud, they can accelerate software life cycles from months and years to just weeks, giving them a sizeable innovation advantage.
Spirent’s 2022 report also takes our deepest dive ever into geographical trends shaping 5G activity. In the Americas, our 5G business grew by more than 40% versus the year prior as a dominant focus on network performance, service experience and a desire to deploy 5G core and edge computing played out. We saw the EMEA market start to reaccelerate with greater than 60% growth versus the prior year, which saw pandemic-induced 5G delays and a decision to ban the use of perceived high-risk vendors. In APAC, China has taken a lead in network coverage, densification, and subscriber growth.
Beyond our own engagements, we explore the hottest trends and tech advancements making next-gen mobile tick, from dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS), cloud and edge to developments in low latency services delivery, Open RAN, private 5G networks and 6G.
The trend of automated active testing and assurance systems based on highly realistic traffic emulation versus legacy monitoring is now widely considered table stakes for success.
Spirent’s executive leadership also report on key assurance, cloud automation and managed services takeaways from 2021 engagements and what they’re watching most closely in 2022.
Finally, we take readers behind the scenes with case studies for DISH, Rakuten Mobile and other engagements for the latest on groundbreaking 5G advancements.
today and come back often this year as we delve further into key findings from the report and share the latest insights from a front row view of 5G.