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Global LTE & 5G NR Markets in an Unlicensed Spectrum Report 2020: Market is Expected to Grow at a CAGR of Approx 40% to 2023, Eventually Accounting for $1.3 Billion by 2023

Research and Markets
·8-min read

Dublin, Jan. 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The "LTE & 5G NR in an Unlicensed Spectrum: 2020 - 2030: Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies & Forecasts" report from SNS Telecom & IT has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering.

The report presents a detailed assessment of the market for LTE and 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum including the value chain, market drivers, barriers to uptake, enabling technologies, key trends, future roadmap, business models, use cases, application scenarios, standardization, spectrum availability/allocation, regulatory landscape, case studies, ecosystem player profiles, and strategies.

The report also provides global and regional forecasts for unlicensed LTE and 5G NR RAN infrastructure from 2020 till 2030. The forecasts cover two air interface technologies, two modes of operation, two cell type categories, seven frequency band ranges, seven use cases, and five regional markets.

Despite the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, competition from non-3GPP wireless technologies and other challenges, the publisher estimates that global investments in LTE and 5G NR-ready RAN infrastructure operating in the unlicensed spectrum will reach nearly $500 Million by the end of 2020. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 40% between 2020 and 2023, eventually accounting for $1.3 Billion by 2023.

Over the past decade, the operation of 3GPP-based cellular networks in the unlicensed spectrum has gone from being a perennial talking point to what is now a key element of mobile network densification strategies. Mobile operators across the globe are increasingly rolling out LTE RAN (Radio Access Network) infrastructure operating in the unlicensed spectrum - primarily the globally harmonized 5 GHz band - to expand network capacity and deliver higher data rates, particularly in dense urban environments. These implementations are largely based on LAA (Licensed Assisted Access) technology which aggregates unlicensed channels with anchors in licensed spectrum to maintain seamless and reliable connectivity.

However, the practical applicability of unlicensed spectrum is not limited to the capacity enhancement of traditional mobile operator networks. Technical and regulatory initiatives such as MulteFire, CBRS (Citizens Broadband Radio Service), and sXGP (Shared Extended Global Platform) make it possible for enterprises, vertical industries, third-party neutral hosts, and other new entrants to build and operate their own independent cellular networks solely in the unlicensed spectrum without requiring an anchor carrier in licensed spectrum.

Furthermore, in conjunction with the availability of new license-exempt frequencies such as the recently opened 6 GHz band from 5925 MHz to 7125 MHz, the introduction of 5G NR-U in 3GPP's Release 16 specifications paves the way for 5G NR deployments in the unlicensed spectrum for both licensed assisted and standalone modes of operation. Given 5G's inherent support for reliability and time-sensitive networking, NR-U is particularly well suited to meet industrial IoT requirements for the automation and digitization of environments such as factories, warehouses, ports, and mining sites.

Topics Covered

The report covers the following topics:

  • Introduction to LTE and 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum

  • Value chain and ecosystem structure

  • Market drivers and challenges

  • Enabling technologies and concepts including LTE-U, LAA/eLAA/FeLAA, 5G NR-U, MulteFire, CBRS and sXGP

  • Key trends such as mobile network densification, neutral host small cells, private cellular networks for enterprises and vertical industries, and the availability of new unlicensed bands

  • Future roadmap of LTE and 5G NR in unlicensed spectrum

  • Business models, use cases and application scenarios

  • Spectrum availability, allocation and usage across the global, regional and national domains

  • Standardization, regulatory and collaborative initiatives

  • Case studies of LTE and 5G NR-ready deployments in unlicensed spectrum

  • Profiles and strategies of more than 280 ecosystem players

  • Strategic recommendations for LTE and 5G NR equipment suppliers, system integrators, service providers, enterprises, and vertical industries

  • Market analysis and forecasts from 2020 till 2030

Key Questions Answered

  • How big is the opportunity for LTE and 5G NR in the unlicensed spectrum?

  • What trends, drivers, and challenges are influencing its growth?

  • What will the market size be in 2023, and at what rate will it grow?

  • Which submarkets and regions will see the highest percentage of growth?

  • What are the existing and candidate unlicensed spectrum bands for the operation of LTE and 5G NR, and what is the status of their adoption worldwide?

  • What is the outlook for the recently opened 6 GHz greenfield spectrum and license-exempt bands in higher frequencies?

  • What are the business models, use cases, and application scenarios for LTE and 5G NR networks operating in the unlicensed spectrum?

  • How does the integration of unlicensed spectrum relieve capacity constraints faced by traditional mobile operators?

  • What opportunities exist for cable operators, neutral hosts, niche service providers, and other new entrants?

  • How will the unlicensed spectrum accelerate the uptake of private cellular networks for enterprises and vertical industries?

  • How does standardization impact the deployment of LTE and 5G NR in the unlicensed spectrum?

  • What are the functional capabilities of 5G NR-U based on the 3GPP's Release 16 specifications, and which NR-U feature enhancements are likely to be supported in Release 17?

  • Do Wi-Fi and other non-3GPP technologies operating in unlicensed spectrum pose a threat to LTE and 5G NR?

  • Who are the key ecosystem players, and what are their strategies?

  • What strategies should LTE and 5G NR equipment suppliers, system integrators, service providers, and other stakeholders adopt to remain competitive?

Key Findings

  • Despite the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, competition from non-3GPP wireless technologies and other challenges, the publisher estimates that global investments in LTE and 5G NR-ready RAN infrastructure operating in the unlicensed spectrum will reach nearly $500 Million by the end of 2020. The market is further expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 40% between 2020 and 2023, eventually accounting for $1.3 Billion by 2023.

  • As part of their network densification efforts, mobile operators across the globe are increasingly employing the use of LAA technology to aggregate licensed spectrum assets with unlicensed frequencies - primarily the globally harmonized 5 GHz band - in order to deliver higher data rates and alleviate capacity constraints across the most congested parts of their networks.

  • With the possibility to leverage the 3.5 GHz CBRS band on a GAA (General Authorized Access) basis in the United States and the availability of Japan's license-exempt 1.9 GHz sXGP band, independent cellular networks that can operate solely in the unlicensed spectrum - without requiring an anchor carrier in the licensed spectrum - are beginning to emerge as well. In addition, it is worth noting that a limited number of custom-built, standalone LTE networks operating in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are operational in certain national markets, predominantly for industrial IoT applications.

  • In the coming years, with the commercial maturity of 5G NR-U technology, the publisher also anticipates seeing 5G NR deployments in the unlicensed spectrum for both licensed assisted and standalone modes of operation - using the 3.5 GHz CBRS, 5 GHz, 6 GHz, and higher frequency bands up to 71 GHz.

Market Dynamics

Market Drivers

  • Continued Growth of Mobile Data Traffic

  • New Revenue Streams: FWA, IoT & Vertical-Focused Services

  • Private & Neutral Host Network Deployments

  • Unlicensed Spectrum Availability

  • Lower Cost Network Equipment & Installation

  • Expanding Ecosystem of Compatible Devices

Market Barriers

  • Cell Site Deployment Challenges

  • Restricted Coverage Due to Transmit Power Limits

  • Interference & Congestion Concerns

  • Resistance From Other Spectrum Users

  • Competition From Non-3GPP Technologies

  • Economic & Pandemic-Related Factors

Case Studies of Unlicensed Spectrum Deployments

  • AT&T: Tapping Unlicensed Spectrum for Mobile Network Densification & FWA

  • BBB (BB Backbone Corporation): 1.9 GHz sXGP-Based Private LTE Network Platform

  • BYD SkyRail: Unlicensed 5 GHz Wireless System for Railway Communications

  • Chunghwa Telecom: Utilizing Unlicensed 5 GHz Spectrum to Enhance Mobile Broadband Experience

  • Dallas Love Field Airport: Private LTE Network for Internal Operations & Passenger Experience

  • Gogo: Capitalizing on Unlicensed 2.4 GHz Spectrum for LTE/5G-Ready A2G (Air-to-Ground) Network

  • Memorial Health System: LTE-Based CBRS Network to Support COVID-19 Response Efforts

  • Midco (Midcontinent Communications): Shared & Unlicensed Spectrum for Rural Broadband Connectivity

  • MTS (Mobile TeleSystems): Delivering Gigabit-Grade LTE Services Using LAA Technology

  • Murray City School District: LTE-Based Private CBRS Network for K-12 Education

  • NetCity (GEOS Telecom): Unlicensed Sub-1 GHz LTE Network for AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure)

  • Ocado: Custom-Built LTE Network Over Unlicensed 5 GHz Spectrum for Warehouse Automation

  • RCI (Rural Cloud Initiative): Building the Farm of the Future With CBRS Spectrum

  • SmarTone: Effectively Managing Traffic Surges With Strategically Located LAA Small Cells

  • URSYS: Bringing Cellular Connectivity to Rural Areas and Outlying Regions With Unlicensed Spectrum

  • Verizon Communications: Exploiting 5 GHz & 3.5 GHz CBRS Spectrum to Address Capacity Demands

  • Vodacom Group: Employing Unlicensed 5 GHz Spectrum To Improve LTE Network Capacity & Performance

  • Yangshan Port: Unlicensed 5 GHz LTE Network for Automated Container Terminal Operations

For more information about this report visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/uc7glo

Research and Markets also offers Custom Research services providing focused, comprehensive and tailored research.

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