A new report from Intel and Ovum contains some eye opening expectations for the growth of 5G cellular networks over the next decade. Video will account for 90 percent of 5G data use, but 5G-powered VR and AR will reach a tipping point. By 2028, gaming — not industrial use — will account for 90 percent of 5G AR data.
The report claims 5G is about to drive $1.3 trillion in new revenues to media and entertainment companies over the next decade. Ovum forecasts that user demand for video data alone will grow from a monthly average of 11.7GB per 5G subscriber in 2019 to 84.4GB in 2028, at that point accounting for 90 percent of all 5G traffic. That’s not just because videos will improve in resolution; they’ll also include additional embedded media and immersive experiences that improve the experience, and video viewing time will increase.
Within a decade, the global media industry stands to gain $1.3 trillion from 5G, according to the “5G Economics of Entertainment Report” commissioned by Intel and conducted by Ovum ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
The report states that as early as 2025, 57 percent of global wireless media revenues will be generated by using the super-high-bandwidth capabilities of 5G networks and the devices that run on 5G. The low latency of these networks means that no video will stall or stop – live streaming and large downloads will happen in the blink of an eye.
The report points to the following breakouts in revenue as 5G networks overtake 3G and 4G by offering new capabilities:
- 2022: nearly 20 percent of total revenues – $47 billion of $253 billion
- 2025: more than 55 percent of total revenues – $183 billion of $321 billion
- 2028: nearly 80 percent of total revenues – $335 billion of $420 billion
How Media Demand Drives Network Evolution:
The “5G Economics of Entertainment Report” forecasts that 5G will accelerate content consumption, including mobile media, mobile advertising, home broadband and TV, and improve experiences across a broad range of new immersive and interactive technologies – unleashing the full potential of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and new media.
The average monthly traffic per 5G subscriber will grow from 11.7GB in 2019 to 84.4GB per month in 2028, at which point video will account for 90 percent of all 5G traffic.
Intel also expects major gains for both VR and AR, suggesting that “a new dawn of VR-driven experiences will emerge as early as 2025,” thanks to 5G. Beyond freeing players from cabled headsets, the report predicts that sensory experiences will be added to VR games, whereby “sensations such as heat and pressure could be bundled into a weapons upgrade in an action game.”
Augmented reality could evolve considerably as a result of 5G. The initial applications sound modest, as the report expects AR will be used to connect people to existing media through “virtual items, virtual characters, and augmented contextual information” — steps we’re already seeing with Star Wars and similar “AR stickers.” But by 2028, AR games are predicted to make up “more than 90 percent of 5G AR revenues,” or around $36 billion globally. That’s a fascinating suggestion, given that AR today is all but exclusively seeing interest from industrial and enterprise customers.
Despite the prediction of heavy video demand, Intel sees games as the key driver for 5G: “Gaming will be at the forefront of 5G-led innovations.” Initially, users will see mobile cloud gaming become a reality, as cloud-based servers do the heavy graphics and AI lifting for less powerful mobile devices. By 2028, the companies expect that 5G mobile games revenue will be $100 billion per year.
Much of the past year’s discussion of 5G has been on its potential to transform transportation, cities, and industries, with carriers, chipmakers, and even government officials suggesting it will bring about a “fourth industrial revolution.” But if today’s report is correct, the vast majority of 5G data won’t be self-driving car controls or coordinated IoT sensors, but rather video, VR, and AR. In part, that’s because entertainment content is data-intense: The report notes that one minute of AR will consume 33 times more traffic than one minute of 480p video.
According to Venture Beat’s Jeremy Horowitz, the challenge for Intel is to actually get 5G products into the marketplace. The now #2 global semiconductor company has been working on 5G modems and has shown early prototype devices, but it appears at this point to be focused on equipping computers and larger network hardware devices with 5G as rivals such as Qualcomm concentrate on 5G smartphones.