5G subscriptions now expected to reach 1.9 billion in 2024, as operators ramp up deployments and users switch to 5G devices
Rapid early momentum and enthusiasm for 5G has led Ericsson to forecast an extra 400 million enhanced mobile broadband subscriptions globally by the end of 2024.
The June 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions – up from 1.5 billion forecasted in the November 2018 edition – an increase of almost 27 percent.
Other forecasts have also increased notably as a result of the rapid 5G uptake. 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45 percent of the world’s population by end of 2024. This could surge to 65 percent, as spectrum sharing technology enables 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.
Communication service providers in several markets have switched on 5G following the launch of 5G-compatible smartphones. Service providers in some markets are also setting more ambitious targets for population coverage of up to 90 percent within the first year.
The strong commitment of chipset and device vendors is also key to the acceleration of 5G adoption. Smartphones for all main spectrum bands are slated to hit the market over the course of this year. As 5G devices increasingly become available and more 5G networks go live, over 10 million 5G subscriptions are projected worldwide by the end of 2019.
The uptake of 5G subscriptions is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63 percent of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being for 5G in 2024. North East Asia follows in second place (47 percent), and Europe in third (40 percent).
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “5G is definitely taking off and at a rapid pace. This reflects the service providers’ and consumers’ enthusiasm for the technology. 5G will have positive impact on people’s lives and businesses, realizing gains beyond the IoT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the full benefits of 5G can only be reaped with the establishment of a solid ecosystem in which technology, regulatory, security, and industry partners all have a part to play.”
Total mobile data traffic continued to soar globally in Q1 2019, up 82 percent year-on-year. It is predicted to reach 131 exabytes (EB) per month by the end of 2024, at which time 35 percent is projected to be over 5G networks. There are 1 billion cellular IoT connections globally, a figure that is expected to rise to 4.1 billion by the end of 2024, of which 45 percent are represented by Massive IoT. Industries using Massive IoT include utilities with smart metering, healthcare in the form of medical wearables, and transport with tracking sensors.