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5G is now a reality, but for service providers the question of how to make money from it remains. By speaking directly to investors, we've unearthed insights that help provide answers. 

As investors make their money by placing their bets on the right technologies,  a survey of their views on the 5G landscape can provide a snapshot of where the opportunities lie. That's why we spoke to 100 investors in the US and UK to find out which sectors and technologies they are placing bets on now, and which they anticipate will transform first in the 5G era. 

In other words, to find out where the 5G opportunity is, we followed the money.

The topline figures

Our first key finding is that there is a great deal of enthusiasm for 5G among investors: 92 percent of our respondents' organizations are invested, or planning to invest, in companies dependent on 5G technology. 

According to our estimates, this excitement adds up to a substantial overall 5G investment figure. The funds our 100 respondents represent will spend $59 billion on 5G this year, and they expect their investment to grow to $94 billion within five years.

Unsurprisingly,  they are confident this investment will pay off, with 76 percent predicting an above average return on their 5G-related bets over the next 6-10 years. What's more, they're bullish about service provider's prospects, with 41 percent naming an operator when asked if they could name any 5G-enabled companies that are expected to make it big in the next 12 months.

The sectors that matter

However, the big question for service providers is: Where will the returns come from? In answer, the graph below shows where investors are seeing the money flow for 5G:

Money flow of 5G

The top five sectors for investment are clear:

  1. Cloud computing – 72 percent
  2. Smart Mobility – 70 percent
  3. Media / Entertainment – 56 percent
  4. Gaming – 44 percent
  5. AR/VR – 42 percent

Our full report examines these sectors and others in depth, detailing the reasons for investors' excitement and providing commentary on each sector straight from our interviewees. Finally, it explores what operators can do to evolve their networks in a way that capitalizes on the opportunity these sectors' explosive growth presents.

Supported by: 

Intel, Dell Technologies and VMware





5G: Follow the Money
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