- 5G will power a greater share of the North American mobile data market than Asia or Western Europe in just a few years according to a new projection from Cisco, released in the company’s annual Visual Network Index.
- According to Cisco’s analysis, 9% of mobile data connections in North America by 2022 will run on 5G, compared to 4% in Asia and 6.5% in Western Europe, despite concerns that Asian countries have been lapping the U.S. in 5G infrastructure installation.
- In 2022, Cisco also estimates the average 5G connection will generate nearly three times more traffic than the average 4G connection because of the faster data speeds.
Even as telecoms invest heavily in 5G networks across major American cities, there’s been widespread concern that competitors including China and South Korea will lap the U.S. At a hearing this month of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, chairman Roger Wicker, R-MS, warned, “Failing to win the race to 5G would not only materially delay benefits for the American people, it would forever reduce the economic and societal gains that come from leading the world in technology.” A report from Deloitte found China has outspent the U.S. by $24 billion on 5G infrastructure since 2015.
The Cisco projection reflects policy decisions that will help deploy more 5G, such as moves by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to make it easier to install small cells. Faster deployment of 5G means more support for connected infrastructure and internet of things (IoT) technology that can be used for more advanced smart cities.
Companies have started trickling out early 5G networks. Verizon heavily publicized its launch of home broadband with 5G technology in October, and AT&T opened up 5G in 12 cities, but only through a mobile hotspot device. Sprint and T-Mobile have promised that their planned merger will help them more quickly get 5G in major cities.
President Donald Trump on Thursday signaled his support for 5G technology, saying in a tweet “I want 5G, and even 6G, technology in the United States as soon as possible.” He added, “American companies must step up their efforts, or get left behind” and “we must always be the leader in everything we do, especially when it comes to the very exciting world of technology!” The Trump administration has been bullish on helping the private sector deploy 5G, saying it will remove government barriers and let business lead the way.