We haven’t even begun to see 5G’s capabilities, says GlobalData
- There will be 3.9 billion 5G mobile subscriptions globally by the end of 2026
- Worldwide 5G service revenues in 2026 will total $609bn
- 5G will generate monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) of $14.15, more than double 4G’s monthly ARPU
While 5G is being widely deployed on a global basis, we haven’t even begun to see the full potential of this technology, according to GlobalData. The leading data and analytics company notes that 5G is yet to make a significant mark in terms of the faster data speeds, latency and other hallmarks that will enable advanced features such as self-driving cars and immerse gaming. However, more advanced telecom bundles are appearing, and GlobalData expects 5G subscriptions to increase as more powerful applications come through.
Lynnette Luna, Principal Analyst with GlobalData, comments: “Although we have not yet seen all that 5G is capable of in early deployments, the technology has a multitude of future opportunities for telecom operators. Not only will capacity bring down the per-bit cost for carriers, the basic cost efficiencies that 5G brings will enable operators and developers alike to create new applications for the technology as it becomes to mature and develop.
“This growing innovation will contribute to an expected rise in 5G mobile subscriptions worldwide. At the end of 2026, GlobalData predicts there will be 3.9 billion such subscriptions, representing a whole 35.1% of total subscriptions. Global 5G service revenues will total $609bn.”
Some revenue-generating strategies seen in the US and Europe on 4G networks also resonate on 5G networks. Within the US postpaid wireless market in particular, operators have always enticed users to sign up for premium plans through service bundles, such as video streaming and gaming.
Luna adds: “5G ARPU in 2026 is expected by GlobalData to greatly outpace that of earlier technology generations, with 5G bringing in monthly ARPU of $14.15 per month versus 4G’s monthly ARPU of $5.48.”
In some markets, we are beginning to see more advanced bundles marketed with 5G. Vodafone is in the process of rolling out Nreal smart glasses in its 5G markets across Europe, offering an interest-free hardware bundle and an app called Vodafone 5G Reality AR. In addition, a number of 5G operators are beginning to sell cloud gaming services. Telia in Sweden and EE in the UK are selling Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass Ultimate memberships that include cloud gaming. Telia customers can also buy a dedicated cloud gaming promotion featuring an Android phone, Telia plan and a free Razer Kishi universal Android controller and the Xbox Game Pass in one bundle.”
Luna concludes: “Operators will continually improve their bundles with new 5G features. Eventually they will take advantage of ultra-low latency and consistent gigabit data speeds.”