Globally, telco operator business models are facing many challenges. The total mobile network data traffic is expected to grow at a compounded annual average growth rate (CAGR) of about 32% between 2016 and 2026, while the average revenue per user (ARPU) continues to decline. At the same time, the growing number of connected devices and the increasing consumption of content on mobile handsets are creating potential opportunities for revenue and the need to improve network capacity and network efficiency. Mobile operators are amid a transition as they try to address these market trends and take steps to make a paradigm shift toward virtualization and software defined networking (SDN) in telco networks.
This report reviews key Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) areas of work in LTE and 5G, and it discusses important network upgrade considerations facing operators. It provides an overview of key 5G features and architecture, non-standalone 5G network deployment options, key network upgrade considerations, and the evolution of LTE networks to support 5G.