Telco 2020 Outlook: 5G Won’t Go Mainstream


24 January 2020

By Caroline Puygrenier, Director of Strategy & Business Development, Connectivity, Interxion

There was a great deal of excitement around 5G in both the U.S. and Europe throughout 2019. For example, we began seeing hints of its true potential come to fruition with Verizon rollouts of commercial 5G networks in Chicago and Minneapolis. And while I expect 2020 to be a big year for 5G – after all, studies predict 1 billion worldwide 5G users by 2023 – I also believe that we are still a bit far off from its widespread adoption.

Before 5G networks become widely available, there are several critical hurdles to overcome – including extensive infrastructure investments and increasing awareness of its benefits. Additionally, consumers don’t own 5G-ready devices, and are unlikely to suddenly upgrade quickly enough to justify an overnight network rollout. Because of this, realistically no telecoms company is going to launch something tomorrow that is incompatible with 4G networks and only works on 5G.

Rather, as we kick off the new decade, they will continue to do what makes most business sense for them by focusing on improving 4G services and the consumer experience. It will, in fact, be a slow burn of these improvements made to 4G that evolve into the true rollout of 5G in the coming years.

Having highly connected, carrier neutral, secure and low- latent infrastructure will be critical as telecoms companies make these upgrades. Colocation data centres, such as Interxion’s, are the ideal environment for the communities that already exist around 4G, and will be for those created around 5G. For example, Interxion’s Communities of Interest allow network players to interconnect with their various partners and connectivity providers that matter most to them.

Widespread rollout of 5G networks will be most effective when different stakeholders work together to ensure its success. That’s why Interxion has partnered with Tech London Advocates (TLA) to launch a dedicated Working Group of investors, leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers and mobile operators to address challenges of and campaigning for the opportunities of 5G technology in Britain. The group’s first initiative will be to take on the disconnect between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) claiming 5G networks are already accessible in major UK cities and the realities of transforming connectivity for mass economic benefit throughout Britain.

Co-launching this Working Group demonstrates Interxion’s commitment to playing a role in the industry’s progression toward a 5G world. To learn about Interxion’s involvement in the TLA 5G Working Group to help in delivering the potential of full 5G roll-out to consumers, businesses and wider society, click here.