Spirent’s 2024 5G Report: 5G Standalone Unleashed

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Insights from over 500 new 5G engagements with Spirent include trends in 5G SA as a catalyst for telco digital transformation, new 5G SA services and devices, non-terrestrial networks for direct-to-device 5G, and how private networks deliver fast ROI.

Last year’s steady 5G Standalone (SA) progress focused on testing, use case validations and early deployments, which have all paved the way for widescale rollouts. Driven by growing automation and 5G core adoption, we anticipate 2024 being the year 5G gets real.

This is a primary finding in our 5G 2024: Market Drivers, Insights & Considerations report, available now.

The latest from 5G’s frontlines

Despite macroeconomic telecom headwinds in 2023, Spirent engaged in over 500 new 5G initiatives with more than 150 customers. This brings our total number of 5G engagements to date to more than 3,100.

For five years, we have tracked what the trends in our engagements indicate about what to expect from the 5G market. For 2024, we are seeing numerous indications that the technical challenges of deploying and integrating new, cloud-native 5G core technologies are being overcome. Ambitious use cases, end users, and operator bottom lines are all set to benefit.


The technical challenges of deploying and integrating new, cloud-native 5G core technologies are being overcome.

In 2023, Spirent saw increased demand to test enhanced 5G core capabilities as service providers prepare to launch differentiated services. There was also a notable uptick in our work with network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and device OEMs. Our industry-leading Landslide 5G Core test solution was selected by over 30 operators, establishing a clearer timeline for 5G SA rollouts.

The details are in our fifth annual 5G outlook report highlighting trends driving deployment activity and predictions for the year ahead.

Download your copy of the Spirent 5G Report now.

What we learned from over 500 new 5G engagements

Spirent CEO Eric Updyke opens this year’s report with observations on the projections and promises we’ve heard for more than half a decade, noting they’re finally coming to fruition.

Spirent’s 2024 report explores a wide range of 5G findings, insights, and predictions that point to a market ready to deliver on substantial potential and reap well-deserved revenue rewards.

Key trends we’re tracking include:

  • 5G SA as a catalyst for telco digital transformation. 5G SA is becoming a primary business driver for digital transformation programs with a big boost from network lifecycle automation. We estimate 20 percent of mature service providers have begun implementing DevOps and Agile practices like automated continuous integration, deployment, and testing (CI/CD/CT).

  • New 5G SA services and devices. Increasing 5G SA-enabled device testing has focused on performance and customer experience testing of new immersive voice and video services.

  • Transport network upgrades. To cope with 5G traffic growing four to five times faster than 4G, and in preparation for 5G SA, leading service providers began 200/400G refresh cycles for IP core backbones.

  • Non-terrestrial networks for direct-to-device 5G. New Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite testing increased, with a focus on direct-to-device 5G services. Key factors were performance capabilities, and technical and regulatory challenges.

  • Private networks deliver fast ROI. Early commercial private network implementations delivered ROI in as little as six months across a targeted set of use cases and a simplified network-in-a-box deployment model. Interest grew around early Release 17 capabilities, including reduced capability (RedCap).

Spirent’s 2024 report also takes a deep dive into the paths 5G is taking in different geographies. We saw an even mix of 5G-related engagements across service providers, device OEMs, and NEMs with most of the activity in the Americas, followed by APAC and EMEA. This work spanned 5G core and cloud testing, automation and transport network infrastructure testing, service experience and benchmarking, RAN and device testing, and service assurance.

Beyond our own engagements, Spirent’s 2024 5G report explores megatrends and tech advancements moving next-gen mobile forward, from network cloud integration to automation, and data fidelity, AI, and operational challenges.

Finally, we provide our view of a market that is ripe for adoption and ready to realize ROI. This includes future use cases made possible with 5G Advanced and 6G, and the status of Open RAN, non-terrestrial, and private networks. We also give a firsthand account of 5G-powered case studies that demonstrate the value 5G is bringing to the marketplace.

Learn more: Download your copy of Spirent’s 2024 5G report.




Stephen Douglas
Stephen Douglas


Spirent is a global leader in automated test and assurance for the ICT industry and Stephen heads Spirents market strategy organization developing Spirents strategy, helping to define market positioning, future growth opportunities, and new innovative solutions. Stephen also leads Spirent’s strategic initiatives for 5G and future networks and represents Spirent on a number of Industry and Government advisory boards. With over 25 years’ experience in telecommunications Stephen has been at the cutting edge of next generation technologies and has worked across the industry with service providers, network equipment manufacturers and start-ups, helping them drive innovation and transformation.