5G to drive SEA mobile data traffic growth seven-fold by 2024

Mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and Oceania will climb seven times to 16 exabytes per month by 2024, with growth fuelled by "rapid early momentum and enthusiasm" for 5G, reveals a study by Ericsson, which anticipates the mobile technology will account for 12 percent of subscriptions in the region by then.

Mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and Oceania will climb seven-fold from 2.3 exabytes last year to 16 exabytes per month by 2024, with growth fuelled by "rapid early momentum and enthusiasm" for 5G. In fact, the next-generation mobile technology will account for almost 12 percent of subscriptions in the region by 2024, according to Ericsson's latest edition of its mobility report. 

Data traffic per smartphone, per month, for the region is expected to increase from 3.6GB to 17GB between 2018 and 2024, at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent. 

In Singapore, specifically, heavy usage smartphone subscribers would consume up to 200GB of data a month on a 5G device by 2024, predicted the report, which assessed responses from 1,500 smartphone users aged 15 to 69 in Singapore. 

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Furthermore, the average smartphone user in the city-state expressed a willingness to pay a 52 percent premium to access selected 5G services. Respondents in Singapore expected smart home sensors and 5G television services to be the top two applications available in a 5G mobile plan. 

Consumers in the country also anticipated the next generation of cellular mobile technology to "become a reality" within two years, the survey found. Another 53 percent believed augmented reality (AR) glasses would be the norm by 2025, where one hour out of three spent watching videos on mobile devices to be on AR or virtual reality (VR) Glasses.

Ericsson's Singapore, Brunei, and Philippine head Martin Wiktorin said: "Mobile video traffic is fuelling the total data traffic as users are spending more time streaming and sharing video. This is expected to continue, as video is embedded in all types of online content. 

"As 5G is gradually rolled out with compatible devices being successively introduced, streaming 360-degree videos and augmented/virtual reality will start to be a significant factor in mobile traffic growth," Wiktorin said.

According to the telecommunication equipment vendor, initial 5G commercial devices were expected to be available in the region during the first half of 2019. 

Worldwide, Ericsson said 5G network coverage would reach 45 percent of the global population by end-2024. It noted, however, that this figure could climb to 65 percent with spectrum-sharing technology enabling 5G rollouts on LTE frequency bands. 

It added that smartphones that supported all main spectrum bands were expected to be available in the market later this year, with global 5G subscriptions projected to exceed 10 million by end-2019. 

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(Source: Ericsson)

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