Like any new transition, 5G will have to go through coverage build-up. 2.2 billion people by the end of 2020 is a good indication of how fast will 5G expand and materialize. As we know, China will launch 5G within weeks from now, and 1.4 billion people live in that country.
It is fair to assume that you will probably see 5G series first in big metropolitan areas and the early launches already happened in urban areas across the globe in 2019. In 2020 metropolitan areas are expected to get greater coverage, and by 2021 Cristiano hopes to see the same level of coverage that we have with 4G.
5G is rolling out much faster than then 4G as many industries realized that since 4G changed the world and introduced them to new business, 5G is expected to have a lot of impact on the global economy too. 5G goes into cars, infrastructure, industrial as well as the obvious one, smartphones.
Cristiano believes that 5G will densify the networks. In automotive densification will happen as 5G needs more bandwidth and, due to the higher frequency, more cell sites. The IoT industry is thinking of smart cities and you need more sites, and then you have cellular V2X for the roadside units and smart traffic lights that will also require more cell-sites.