5G Boom: Revolutionizing Connectivity with Unmatched Speed and Versatility

  • Published | 21 June 2024

The 5G infrastructure is a network of macro- and small-cell base stations with edge computing capabilities that are necessary to operate the fifth-generation technology standard for cellular networks. 5G infrastructure enables low latency coverage for large data streams used in applications such as IoT devices, semi-autonomous vehicles, and augmented reality.

Evolution of 5G Infrastructure

The Launch of 5G Networks

The launch of 5G networks was a global collaborative effort involving numerous telecommunications companies and standards organizations. Various countries began rolling out 5G at different times, making it difficult to credit a single entity. South Korea was one of the first, with SK Telecom, KT Corporation, and LG Uplus launching 5G in April 2019. In the U.S., Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile started their 5G rollouts in 2019, with Verizon introducing 5G Home service in select cities in October 2018. China's major carriers, China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom, launched 5G services in late 2019. Other countries in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East followed suit. Global standards organizations like the ITU and 3GPP were pivotal in developing 5G standards, ensuring network interoperability and compatibility.

The Evolution of 5G Infrastructure

The transition from 4G to 5G networks has required significant infrastructure upgrades. Unlike previous generations, 5G infrastructure is designed to be more flexible, scalable, and efficient.

It consists of two main architectures:

Non-Standalone (NSA) Infrastructure: This approach leverages the existing 4G LTE network infrastructure, augmenting it with new 5G New Radio (NR) antennas and components. This allows for a faster and more cost-effective deployment of 5G services, as carriers can utilize their existing assets.

Standalone (SA) Infrastructure: This is a fully independent 5G network, with its own cloud-native core and 5G RAN. It offers the full capabilities of 5G, including network slicing, edge computing, and advanced features. However, it requires a more extensive and costly infrastructure overhaul.

5G Coverage Enhancement Techniques

5G Coverage Enhancement Techniques

Source: MDPI, 2023

Challenges and Opportunities

Deploying 5G infrastructure is not without its challenges. Securing the necessary spectrum, managing the high costs of infrastructure upgrades, and addressing regulatory and security concerns are just a few of the hurdles that network operators must overcome.

However, the potential benefits of 5G infrastructure are immense. Faster speeds, lower latency, and increased capacity will enable a wide range of new applications, from autonomous vehicles and remote healthcare to immersive entertainment and industrial automation. As 5G networks continue to evolve and expand, they will become the foundation for the next generation of digital innovation and connectivity.

Top 5G Infrastructure Companies

The top 5G infrastructure companies are pivotal in advancing global 5G technology. Samsung leads in providing commercial 5G services globally, particularly in Korea, the US, and Japan, aiming to transform everyday experiences with a connected world vision integrating AI, IoT, and cloud computing. Huawei is a major player with significant investments in 5G technology research and development, offering end-to-end commercial 5G solutions and continuing to innovate with technologies like 5.5G connectivity. Ericsson has established 157 live 5G networks across 66 countries, offering the Ericsson Radio System for rapid 5G coverage expansion and supporting a smarter, safer, and more sustainable future. Nokia provides a wide range of 5G solutions, including its 5G Standalone Core, partnering with companies like BT Group to drive 5G monetization opportunities. Rakuten is notable for its leadership in 5G upload speeds in Japan and continues to innovate with lower latency features and high download speeds. Intel powers network transformation from cloud to edge, providing peak performance and enabling agility and scalability across industries. Qualcomm focuses on advancing 5G technology with new innovations integrating AI, supporting new devices, services, and deployments. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) offers 5G services for telcos and enterprises, aiming to accelerate innovation with its cloud-native, multivendor infrastructure. AT&T is a major U.S. telecommunications provider expanding its 5G and fiber networks globally, investing over $140 billion in network resilience. Cisco unifies multivendor mobile solutions into a cloud-native architecture, providing a broad range of 5G solutions, including an open vRAN and IoT services for the 5G era.

Statistical Analysis of 5G Key Parameters

5G Network Market

Source: MDPI, 2023

Recent Developments:

June 2024: Accenture has agreed to purchase Fibermind, an Italian network services firm that specialises in fibre and mobile 5G network rollout, as well as infrastructure engineering services. The acquisition will boost Accenture's capabilities in the area and provide network services to clients in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, utilities, and transportation.

May 2024: The Government of Ghana, Ascend Digital, K-NET, Radisys, Nokia, and Tech Mahindra, in collaboration with Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) AT Ghana and Telecel Ghana, have unveiled a new shared infrastructure Next-Gen InfraCo. (NGIC). This alliance intends to provide inexpensive 5G mobile broadband services throughout Ghana. The Next-Gen Infrastructure Company (NGIC) has been granted a 5G licence and plans to offer 5G services in Ghana within the next six months, followed by expansion into other parts of Africa.

September 2023: ZTE Corporation, a global leading provider of information and communication technology solutions, has reached a critical milestone in the 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) industry. In GlobalData's 5G RAN Competitive Landscape Assessment (CLA), ZTE received an overall Leader rating as well as Leader ratings in three of the five subcategories. This achievement highlights ZTE's critical role in propelling the global deployment of 5G infrastructure.


The 5G infrastructure revolution is poised to transform global connectivity, enabling unprecedented speed, low latency, and versatility. The rollout of 5G networks has been a collaborative global effort, with major telecommunications companies and standards organizations working together to develop the necessary infrastructure. The transition from 4G to 5G has required significant upgrades, with network operators adopting either non-standalone or standalone architectures to leverage existing assets or build fully independent 5G networks. While deployment faces challenges like spectrum allocation and high costs, the potential benefits are immense. 5G will power a new era of applications, from autonomous vehicles to remote healthcare, driving innovation across industries. Leading infrastructure providers like Samsung, Huawei, Ericsson, and Nokia are at the forefront of this transformation, continuously advancing 5G technology and partnering with operators worldwide. As 5G networks expand, they will become the foundation for the next generation of digital connectivity, shaping the future of how we live, work, and interact.

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