A step-change in 5G deployment will widen the gap in mobile connectivity between leading and developing markets

12 December 2023 | Regulation and policy

Janette Stewart | Caroline Gabriel


To avoid a widening digital divide (and for their own commercial interest), operators across the telecoms sector need to play an active role in articulating the benefits of new technologies and engaging with regulators.

2024 will see a step-change in operators in more developed markets making the transition to 5G-standalone (5G-SA) architectures. In other regions, barriers to deploying 5G remain, and there is a risk they fall behind the leading markets.

The immediate reason to transition from an initial 5G NSA deployment (which relies on 4G/LTE core networks) to a 5G-SA core network architecture is to improve network performance through higher speeds, more bandwidth and capacity, and lower latency. But it also allows operators to offer differentiated services that can be tailored to different customer needs, and unlock new revenue streams through commercialising bespoke network slices.

In markets where 5G is yet to launch, consumer experience is likely to suffer both from the effects of rising data traffic levels overwhelming 4G networks, and by being excluded from the latest handsets and services.

In jurisdictions with less ambitious regulatory regimes, it falls to operators to make the case for progress. 


Analysys Mason 2024 predictions for the TMT industry
Analysys Mason 2024 predictions for the TMT industry