Europe’s 5G Market Soars: Projecting 1.72 Billion Euros by 2026


2023 was an important year for the 5G industrial market: the main standards were defined that make it a distinctive technology compared to previous generations of mobile networks. At a business level, all the main telecommunications operators have formalized the first commercial offers of private networks, i.e. dedicated to individual companies. Seizing this opportunity, in 2023 several 5G MPN (Mobile Private Network) networks were implemented thanks to private capital, and therefore no longer financed by public funds as has happened until today.

Overall today in Europe there are 117 industrial 5G projects (including the United Kingdom), of which just over half are less than two years old, with 7 new cases in Italy in 2023, a sign that even in our country some large companies have decided to explore the potential of this technology. By 2026, the 5G industrial market in Europe is expected to reach a likely value of 1.72 billion euros, 10% represented by Italy, the fourth largest country. This value is subject to strong uncertainty: it could exceed 2 billion or be less than 1 billion, depending on the stimulating role that the public entity may have, the ability of the offer to formalize packages of solutions and services, and of trust and ability to initiate private projects.

These are some of the results of the research of the 5G & Beyond Observatory of the School of Management of the Polytechnic of Milan, presented today at the “5G: industrial networks set the market in motion” conference.

“The development of industrial networks is setting the 5G market in motion – states Giovanni Miragliotta, Scientific Manager of the 5G & Beyond Observatory -. 2023 was an important year for the development of technologies and the first commercial projects, a sign that emerging from the embryonic phase, with projects previously often based on public funding. It is also an important signal of the fact that companies have understood how 5G is the platform with which to digitize operational processes and support new automation. This is also due to the reduction of some technological alibis, to the multiplying international experiences, and to the progressive clarification of the dimensions of value: now the ecosystem must perfect the supply conditions so that demand can develop”.

“The road ahead for the full development of the 5G market has been traced, but it is still long, with some obstacles to overcome – warns Antonio Capone, Scientific Director of the 5G & Beyond Observatory -. The development of public networks is proceeding at a slower speed compared to expectations due to the economic-financial difficulties of telecommunications operators which limit investments. Furthermore, 5G projects, to date, are strongly focused on the network infrastructure and do not push enough in the design of innovative applications, due to the weakness of the proposition of value of the services of the ICT supply chain. The public entity, at an Italian and European level, will also be able to play a key role in terms of driving or slowing the market, depending on decisions on various fronts: from spectrum policies to electromagnetic limits, from demand incentives and the possibility of diversification of connectivity services”.

“Globally, the speed of commercial development of 5G will also depend on the role that the large Hyperscaler cloud providers will have towards telecommunications operators: collaborative for edge cloud offers (as in Europe) or competitive with their own direct offers of private networks ( as in the USA) – observes Marta Valsecchi, Director of the 5G & Beyond Observatory -. Today, certainly, we notice that 5G is growing faster in countries with a stronger economic fabric and with higher digitalisation rates. In Italy, it is It is important that the economic system as a whole favors investments in digitalisation and that the TLC supply chain structures an offer suited to our production context”.

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