A new report expects the deployment of 5G small cellular sites to rapidly accelerate in coming years and eclipse small 4G installations by 2024.

The latest Market Status Report from Small Cell Forum suggested companies would utilize more than 70 million small cells worldwide by 2025, with more than 13 million 5G or multi-mode small cells.

The analysis, based on a survey from Rethink Research and other models and forecasts, accounted for deployment plans from more than 100 operators. The latest report extends SCF's projections to 2025 for the first time.

The study said that the "vast majority" of small cell deployments would be implemented in "dense or hyper-dense environments" by the end of the forecast window. North America and the Asia-Pacific region would lead the increased densification, according to the report, while Europe is expected to lag behind amid "commercial, technical and regulatory barriers."

SCF analysts also said that C-Band and high frequency bands would be most important to 5G small cells and that virtualization would grow at an average rate of 52 percent per year due to its significance for 5G and multi-mode cells.

In addition, the report anticipated that non-residential small cell deployment — particularly in urban corridors or businesses — would jump, on average, 36 percent per year between 2015 and 2025.

SCF Chairman David Orloff said the latest forecast was an important indicator of how quickly networks will change as the industry prepares to gather for Mobile World Congress next week.

"[Small cells] will become increasingly central to wireless strategies as new spectrum and new revenue models drive densification,” Orloff said in a statement.