20 Predictions for 2020

Parallel Wireless   January 8, 2020

20202019 was an exciting year for mobile technology, and the new year promises even more progress and innovation. From 5G to Smart Cities, read our predictions for 2020.


  1. We will see widespread rollout of 5G. At least half the countries in the world will have either a trial or a commercial 5G network by the end of 2020.
  2. We will see the first commercial deployment of stand-alone core. With the 3GPP Release-16 standard being finalized mid-2020, companies will be racing to be the first in the world with stand-alone 5G core, and we will see numerous demonstrations at MWC 2020.
  3. MWC 2020 will also feature a number of network slicing demos and use cases. However, we don’t expect to see anything but basic slicing in commercial networks until 2021 at least.
  4. We predict that MWC 2020 will also feature more URLLC (ultra-reliable and low latency communications) use cases as the 5G Core and Release 16 enable the support of products and services with stringent latency and reliability requirements.
  5. As we enter the 5G era, the traditional, closed model for building the RAN is no longer sustainable. In developed markets, the race for 5G commercialization is in full swing and operators are spending considerable amounts building out their next generation networks. They need a new approach that will allow them to deploy and run 5G technology efficiently alongside their 2G, 3G an 4G networks.

4G and OpenRAN

  1. 4G is growing and will grow even faster in 2020. OpenRAN will allow operators to perform more deployments, including connecting rural and hard-to-reach areas.
  2. We may see operators move heavy data users from 4G to 5G to improve user experience for those on the 4G network.

Legacy 2G & 3G Networks and OpenRAN

  1. Until 4G adoption can over take it (most likely in 2020), 3G remains highly utilized in many regions of the world, even outside of emerging markets.
  2. However, more operators will discuss 3G sunset while retaining 2G. In many cases, OpenRAN will allow these operators to transition their legacy infrastructure to a more modern one, thus saving space and power.

Internet of Things (IoT)

  1. IoT will continue to grow, but at a slower pace than previously predicted. The connectivity will include many different options, including cellular, wi-fi, Bluetooth, non-cellular LPWA technologies, and more.
  2. Enterprise use of IoT will increase, specifically with regard to smart manufacturing.

Private Networks

  1. Private networks will start to gain importance, and many countries will keep a small chunk of spectrum on the side for private networks.
  2. Companies will use private networks to help solve tasks that were traditionally difficult to perform using other wireless technologies, while improving performance and productivity and ensuring security.

Autonomous Vehicles

  1. Despite high public visibility and interest, autonomous vehicles (AV) are still a long way away as several edge computing challenges will need to be overcome before AV development can be reliable and viable.

Smartphones and Smart Feature Phones

  1. As 5G rollout becomes more widespread and consumer interest grows, we will start to see cheaper 5G smartphones.
  2. Smartphone design trends will feature multiple screens and more folding devices.
  3. Smart Feature Phones will continue to gain traction, especially in developing countries, allowing people to move from 2G technology to 3G and 4G technologies.

Extended Reality (XR) Glasses & Headsets

  1. XR glasses and headsets will gain traction – slimmer, lighter, with long-lasting batteries, and even with embedded SIMs – and we will likely see some use cases for outdoor VR glasses.

Smart Homes and Smart Cities

  1. Security and privacy will be at the forefront of smart home and smart city conversations.
  2. There will be a bit of a slowdown in smart homes until security and privacy issues have reliable solutions.

Let us know YOUR predictions!

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