Ericsson predicts eight 5G smartphones by mid-2019

By April, Ericsson has predicted that there will be six mid-band 5G smartphones, to be followed by two or more mmWave 5G smartphones by July.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor
(Image: Ericsson)

Ericsson has predicted that there will be eight or more 5G smartphones by mid-2019 -- six using mid-band spectrum to launch by April, and two or more millimetre-wave (mmWave) 5G smartphones by July.

Revealed in the Ericsson Mobility Report: November 2018, the networking giant added in its forecast that there will be one mid-band and one mmWave fixed-wireless outdoor device, along with four mid-band and five mmWave indoor customer premises equipment (CPE) pocket routers, by December this year.

In total by December 2019, Ericsson is predicting that there will be seven or more mid-band 5G smartphones, two or more mmWave 5G smartphones, and one or more low-band 5G smartphones.

Oppo, ZTE, Motorola, and LG are among those who have already announced a 5G smartphone for 2019.

By the end of next year, Ericsson said there will likely also be three mid-band 5G PCs and one mmWave 5G PC; three mid-band and three mmWave fixed-wireless outdoor devices; four mid-band CPE/indoor routers and five mmWave CPE/indoor routers; and one mid-band and one mmWave industry 5G devices.

Read also: 5G smartphones cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

"For smartphones, we forecast a strong line-up for Q2 2019. At this point, it is difficult to accurately predict release timing or number of vendors, but second-generation chipsets are expected by the end of 2019, which will enable more 5G-capable devices with enhanced architectures and lower power consumption," Ericsson said.

"Modules for laptops and industrial applications are expected within the same time frame ... 5G will take off in 2019, and 2020 will be the year in which 5G enters the mass market. At this point in time, third-generation chipsets will have been introduced and a large number of devices will be available."

By the end of 2024, Ericsson is projecting 5G to cover more than 40 percent of the world's population and over 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions -- 17 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

"There is strong momentum in the global 5G market. In the United States, one of the major communications service providers launched a 5G home internet service at the beginning of October, and all four of the country's major service providers have publicly announced that they will begin providing 5G services between late 2018 and mid-2019," the report said.

"Other markets expecting significant 5G subscription volumes early include South Korea, Japan, and China. In Europe, some spectrum auctions have already been held, and others will take place over the next few years. The first commercial 5G subscriptions in the region are expected in 2019."

Ericsson added that fixed-wireless 5G deployments will likely continue to remain relevant, as half of all households across the globe do not have a fixed-line connection.

"Given the current speed and capacity of cellular networks with LTE and its evolution to 5G, there are opportunities for operators to deliver broadband services to homes and small and medium-sized enterprises economically using FWA," it said.

In total, by the end of 2018 there will be 5 billion smartphone subscriptions, Ericsson said. LTE subscriptions are predicted to reach 5.4 billion by the end of 2024, making up 60 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

Across the Internet of Things (IoT), Ericsson said connections will reach 4.1 billion by 2024 across both narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and Cat-M1 networks.

"Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is anticipated to account for 2.7 billion -- a figure reflecting both the ambitions and size of the cellular IoT market in this region," Ericsson said.

Around 85 cellular-based IoT networks using Cat-M1 and NB-IoT have been announced across the globe, according to Ericsson.

"Both technologies are being deployed to complement each other across regions worldwide. Large-scale deployments, and the resulting high-volume chipsets, are expected to continue to reduce chipset prices. This is leading to further acceleration of the growth in cellular IoT connections," it said.

Ericsson last month called 5G a "commercial reality" in its Q3 earnings report, with the Swedish networking giant planning to "continue to invest to secure 5G leadership" with enhanced mobile broadband and fixed-wireless as the first use cases.

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