Global 5G population to hit 2.6B in 2025: Ericsson

Some 65% of the world's population will have 5G coverage by end-2025, which networks will handle 45% of all mobile data traffic.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

By 2025, the number of 5G subscribers worldwide is expected to hit 2.6 billion, fuelled by a fast-developing ecosystem and strong growth momentum. Average mobile data consumption also is projected to climb from 7.2GB to 24GB per smartphone by 2025, which will allow for a 30-minute HD video to be streamed a day including a six-minute of virtual reality clip.

In addition, 65% of the global population would have 5G coverage, which networks would handle 45% of the world's mobile data traffic, revealed the latest instalment of the Ericsson Mobility Report. 

It noted that this year saw several major telcos in Asia, Europe, Middle East, and North America launching their 5G networks. Service providers in South Korea, for instance, had shored up more than three million subscriptions in total by end-September, following the launch of 5G in April. 

China, which rolled out its networks in late-October, was estimated to have 13 million 5G subscriptions by year-end. 

However, by 2025, 4G or LTE was expected to become the main mobile technology in Southeast Asia and Oceania, accounting for 63% of overall subscriptions. 5G would support 21% of the region's mobile population, according to the Ericsson report. 

It predicted, though, that 5G adoption would be faster than that of LTE, with North America expected to see the highest growth rate where 74% of mobile subscriptions to be 5G-powered by end-2025. Northeast Asia was expected to see the second-highest adoption, at 56%, followed by Europe at 55%. 

The report also estimated that the number of Internet of Things (IoT) connections would climb from 1.3 billion by end-2019, to five billion by end-2025, clocking a compound annual growth rate of 25%. 

Mobile traffic growth for the third quarter of 2019 grew 68% year-on-year, fuelled by the higher number of smartphone subscriptions in India and increased mobile data consumption per smartphone in China. Growth also was driven by better device capabilities, increase in data-intensive content, and more affordable data plans, the report noted. 

Ericsson's executive vice president and head of networks, Fredrik Jejdling, said: "In 2020, 5G-compatible devices will enter the volume market, which will scale up 5G adoption. The question is no longer if, but how quickly we can convert use cases into relevant applications for consumers and enterprises. With 4G remaining a strong connectivity enabler in many parts of the world, modernising networks is also key to this technological change we're going through."


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