COVID-19’s Impact on 5G in APAC and Beyond

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By Kangrui Ling | 3Q 2020 | IN-5902


Economy Sees a Downturn, but 5G Development Remains Strong


COVID-19 has indeed affected the economy, but 5G-related developments have not stopped. Many major economies in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are projected to have negative real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth this year. For example, Japan is forecasted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to have -5.8% GDP growth this year, with Australia and Japan registering -4.5% and -2.1%, respectively. Emerging economies, however, are forecasted by the IMF to mostly register a contraction instead. For instance, China, APAC’s largest economy, is forecasted to register 1% real GDP growth this year compared to its 6.1% growth in 2019.

Amid this economic slowdown, 5G efforts made by many operators have largely remained unaffected. For example, NTT Docomo commercially launched 5G in March 2020, even in the face of a slow initial 5G adoption of 40,000 customers in its first month. China Telecom has also made plans to spend six times what it spent on Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) for 5G in 2019 this year.

Short-Term Disruptions but New Landsc…

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