Ericsson believes there will be more than one billion 5G mobile subscriptions by the end of the year, a number that will reach 4.4 billion by 2027.
Ericsson’s Annual Mobility Report (opens in new tab) said 5G was expanding faster than any previous generation of mobile technology, with a quarter of the world’s population now having access. By 2027, this will have increased to three-quarters, helping to explain the rapid rate of adoption.
Within five years, 5G will account for 90% of all mobile subscriptions in North America, 82% in Western Europe and 74% in Northeast Asia. In India, where deployment has yet to begin, analysts predict take-up will be 40% – highlighting the pace of expansion.
But availability is only part of the equation. The report found that the volume of global mobile traffic has doubled over the past two years, with improvements in network infrastructure and the broader digitization of society, accelerated by the pandemic, boosting consumption.
The report also notes that 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) will reach 100 million subscriptions by 2022 and 230 million by 2027, with 4G and 5G replacing the older 2G and 3G standards in the Internet of Things (IoT) space.
“Ericsson’s latest mobility report confirms 5G as the fastest growing generation of mobile technology ever, and Ericsson is playing a key role in making that happen,” said Fredrik Jejdling, head of networks at Ericsson.
“We work every day with our customers and ecosystem partners around the world to ensure that millions of people, businesses, industries and societies enjoy the benefits of 5G connectivity as quickly as possible.”
Ericsson’s forecast is broadly in line with a more optimistic recent analysis by CCS Insight, which claimed there would be 1.2 billion subscriptions by the end of 2022, with 4.5 billion by 2026.
“Although the founding years of 5G have been overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the problems it has created, the market is in a stronger position as we enter the second half of 2022,” said James Manning Smith, senior analyst. from CCS Insight.
“The world still faces a bleak macroeconomic and geopolitical outlook in 2022, along with supply chain difficulties. But the transition of mobile subscribers to 5G networks should make good progress, with 5G connections predicted to nearly double this year to 1.2 billion.”