Study: IoT, Edge To Help Drive 5G to 1 Billion Connections by 2023

During the next five years, research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) said it expects the number of 5G connections to grow from the current number of approximately 10 million connections to 1.01 billion in 2023.

These numbers are worldwide and represent a 217 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), with 5G becoming what will be 8.9 percent of all "mobile device connections" by the end of this time period, IDC said.

According to the forecast, aside from consumer applications and usage, the Internet of Things (IoT) will be a big driver behind 5G's uptake. "As the IoT continues to proliferate, the need to support millions of connected endpoints at the same time will become increasingly critical. With the ability to enable an exponentially denser number of simultaneous connections, 5G's densification advantage be key for mobile network operators in providing reliable network performance" IDC said.

IDC also points out the promise of decreased latency that 5G offers, and how that increase in particular will help drive IoT, edge and artificial intelligence projects: "The speed and latency that 5G enables will open up the door for new use cases and add mobility as an option to many existing ones. Many of these use cases will come from businesses looking to leverage 5G's technological advantages in their edge computing, artificial intelligence, and cloud services initiative." (For more on 5G and latency, go here).

IDC notes in the report that 5G implementation still faces many issues, including spectrum allocations, regulations and overall infrastructure.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the vice president of Web & Digital Strategy for 1105's Converge360 Group, where she oversees the front-end Web team and deals with all aspects of digital strategy. She also serves as executive editor of the group's media Web sites, and you'll even find her byline on, the group's newest site for enterprise developers working with AI. She recently gave a talk at a leading technical publishers conference about how changes in Web technology may impact publishers' bottom lines. Follow her on twitter @beckynagel.


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