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5G? Wait 'Til Next Year

by John Walko from eetimes, May. 27, 2020 – 

This was finally going to be the year of 5G. Not anymore. Industry analysts tracking the fortunes of the mobile industry are scrambling to revise their 5G market projections as the Covid-19 pandemic upends business plans across the industry.

Some mobile-market watchers have warned of a delay in 5G network installations by three to six months as the coronavirus pandemic has locked down business activity across the globe. Network infrastructure supply chains for 5G, although not broken, are strained. The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) has had to cancel face-to-face meetings for the foreseeable future, meaning some important additional 5G specifications remain to be ironed out.

Other analysts are looking at a 30% shortfall in shipments of 5G-enabled smartphones. Some observers also worry that Apple might postpone the much-hyped launch of its 5G-enabled smartphone, scheduled for September. Meanwhile, senior executives in the mobile communications sector are sending out mixed signals regarding the impact of the pandemic on the rollout and take-up of 5G. U.S. carrier AT&T said in a statement that it was still "marching down the path we have been talking about." Verizon and T-Mobile stated that they were moving ahead with 5G build plans, with the former projecting that it would spend US$500 million more on capital expenditures (capex) this year than it originally planned.

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