COVID-19 Pandemic May Cause 5G Infrastructure Revenue to Drop 10 Percent in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing a disruption among 5G infrastructure vendors. According to data collected by ABI Research, most advanced 5G networks still rely on tier one infrastructure vendors with disruptions in the supply chain.

The shortages of component manufacturing and network workforce deployment, such as integration engineers, are the main reasons of this disruption. These disruptions  will cause 2020 5G network infrastructure revenue to fall as much as 10 percent of the forecast at $2.1 billion.

“The current virus outbreak will likely delay the deployment of advanced 5G NR systems, including Massive Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) and active antennas that several operators have already started deploying,” Jiancao Hou, Senior Analyst at ABI Research said.

“This may mean that operators that have already deployed a significant number of base stations will be in a better position to become early adopters and benefit from an earlier transition from previous generations to 5G, but this will rely on the availability of relevant handsets. In the short term, 5G radio deployments will be delayed further due to geopolitical constraints and COVID-19.”In the longer term, while 5G’s momentum will be slowed, new use cases will emerge,” says Hou.  It is important for mobile operators to broaden their supply chain and avoid a single-vendor infrastructure market. Apart from that, the effects of the virus outbreak will likely accelerate more innovative use cases and services. “For example, considering a 5G Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communications (URLLC) scenario, if surgery and health monitoring can be done remotely, the doctor will not need to physically meet the patient infected with the virus.”

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