US and APAC will be ahead of Europe on 5G: Ericsson

There will be 500 million 5G mobile subscriptions in 2022, according to Ericsson, with 10 percent of all mobile subscribers in APAC and 25 percent in North America to be across 5G networks by then.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Ericsson has tipped the Asia-Pacific region to be ahead of Europe in 5G mobile subscriptions by 2022, thanks to a greater number of trials and deployments occurring in the area across both 5G and 4G-Advanced technologies.

According to the networking giant's Mobility Report: June 2017, 10 percent of all APAC mobile subscriptions will be on 5G by 2022, with first deployments in South Korea, Japan, and China.

"APAC will be ahead of Europe when it comes to 5G," Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson Australia and New Zealand, said.

"LTE-Advanced is giving us a path to 5G ... 15 percent of the world's population is expected to be covered by 5G in 2022, with rollouts, no surprise, commencing in metropolitan areas."

North America is tipped to be first in adoption rates for 5G -- an industry that Ericsson has forecast to be worth $1.2 trillion by 2026 -- with a quarter of all mobile subscriptions in that region to be on 5G by 2022, according to Ericsson.

Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America are forecast to have 5 percent or less of their total mobile subscribers on 5G by 2022, for a total of half a billion 5G subscriptions globally by the end of that year.

According to Romeo, the 3GPP's approval of early 5G New Radio (NR) standardisation trials in March has allowed for large-scale trials and deployments to take place by 2019.

Ericsson told ZDNet that APAC is ahead of most of the world in terms of such trials and deployments, not only in 5G but also 4G-Advanced and Cat M1 Internet of Things (IoT) networks.

"LTE will become the dominant technology by 2018. This is important not only because of voice and other advanced services that operators can deploy, but also because LTE- Advanced networks will form the platform for rapid rollout of 5G," Romeo said.

"Australia has some of the world's leading networks with LTE-Advanced and Cat M1, enabling enterprise and industries to develop solutions and services now and be ready for enhanced capabilities of 5G."

Ericsson had announced in February that it would be conducting 5G NR trials with Australia's dominant telecommunications provider Telstra during the second half of 2017 ahead of an accelerated 5G deployment thereafter.

The trials will see them make use of millimetre-wave (mmWave) spectrum technologies at higher-frequency bands to increase network capacity and allow for multi-gigabit speeds across the 28GHz, 39GHz and sub-6GHz spectrum bands, as well as Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) antenna technology along with beam forming and beam tracking.

At the same time, Ericsson and Telstra announced that they would be deploying a 4G Cat M1 IoT network across the country, with trials under way in Tasmania and Melbourne.

Once Cat M1 solutions are commercially available, which is expected during 2017, Telstra said it would be supported across its 4G network covering 98 percent of the population powered by Ericsson's Massive IoT network software.

A month prior, Telstra and Ericsson had also launched a gigabit-capable 4G mobile network in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, allowing users with compatible devices to attain speeds of up to 1Gbps. The 1Gbps network will be launched in Adelaide and Perth later this year, with more areas set to join in future.

Telstra and Ericsson in 2015 announced that their 5G network would be live trialled during the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast before being launched by 2020.

This followed their first live trial of 5G in Australia last year, which attained download speeds of between 18Gbps and 22Gbps during a real-world outdoor environment using Ericsson's 5G radio testbed.

Ericsson's annual Mobility Report also addressed overall IoT connectivity globally, predicting around 29 billion devices to be connected by 2022, 18 billion of which will be IoT devices such as connected cars, machines, meters, sensors, electronics, and wearables.

Of these 18 billion, just over 15 billion are expected to be short-range IoT devices, while more than 2 billion will be wide-area IoT devices, Ericsson said.

"The short-range segment largely consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio technologies, with a typical range of up to 100 metres, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and ZigBee. This category also includes devices connected over fixed-line local area networks and powerline technologies. The wide-area segment consists of devices using cellular connections, as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox, LoRa and RPMA," Ericsson explained.

"Cellular networks are well suited to providing connectivity for emerging IoT applications due to their ubiquitous deployments, as well as their inherent characteristics, which include security and reliability.

"The newly standardised 3GPP low-power wide-area (LPWA) cellular technologies, Cat M1 and NB-IoT, can be deployed on existing LTE networks, and are helping to overcome these challenges. The technologies meet massive IoT coverage requirements and support a wide range of low-cost devices."

Mobile data traffic grew by 70 percent over the last year, Ericsson said, with video traffic now accounting for 50 percent of all mobile data traffic ahead of being forecast to account for 75 percent by 2022.

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