5G is expected to reach more than 40 percent global population coverage and 1.5 billion subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024. This will make 5G the fastest generation of cellular technology to be rolled out on a global scale, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report.

  • 5G is forecast to cover more than 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2024
  • Cellular IoT connections expected to surpass 4 billion in six years’ time
  • Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent year-on-year in Q3 2018

Key drivers for 5G deployment include increased network capacity, lower cost per gigabyte and new use case requirements.

North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake. In North America, 5G subscriptions are forecast to account for 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is more than 43 percent.

In Western Europe, 5G is forecast to account for some 30 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024.

The uptake of NB-IoT and Cat-M1 technologies is driving growth in the number of cellular IoT connections worldwide. Of the 4.1 billion cellular IoT connections forecast for 2024, North East Asia is expected to account for 2.7 billion – a figure reflecting both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region.

Diverse and evolving requirements across a wide range of use cases are prompting service providers to deploy both NB-IoT and Cat-M1 in their markets.

Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent between Q3 2017 and Q3 2018 – China a key engine

Mobile data traffic in Q3 2018 grew close to 79 percent year-on-year, which is the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in North East Asia– mainly in China – has pushed the global figure notably higher. With a traffic growth per smartphone of around 140 percent between end 2017 and end 2018, the region has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3 gigabytes per month. This is comparable to streaming HD video for around 10 hours per month.

North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6 gigabytes per month by the end of this year – which can be compared to streaming HD video for over 12 hours monthly.

Between 2018-2024, total mobile data traffic is expected to increase by a factor of five, with 5G networks projected to carry 25 percent of mobile traffic by the end of the period.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, says: “As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries.”

South east Asia and Oceania Update

In South east Asia and Oceania (excluding India and China ) , WCDMA and HSPA is still the dominant technology at 48% of all subscriptions. However, LTE subscriptions grew by 70 per cent during 2018, taking a share of 26 per cent . This transformation is expected to continue in 2024 - LTE is projected to account for 63 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in the region.

The mobile data traffic per active smartphone (GB per month) is growing strongly from 3.8 GB per month to 19 GB per month on 2024.

Thailand Update

Nadine Allen, Head of Ericsson Thailand says,” For communications service providers, a successful mobile broadband business is the base for addressing all the new opportunities that lie ahead with 5G. 4G is in fact the foundation for 5G. Operators who want to move towards becoming more than a connectivity provider, there are significant revenue opportunities across a wide range of industries.

For Thailand, we forecast that operators can add a revenue up to USD 2.6 billion or 22 percent incremental revenues to forecast service revenues by 2026. The largest opportunity for operator-addressable 5G-related revenues will be in sectors like manufacturing, energy and utilities and public safety. We need to start preparing for 5G now if we are to realize the benefits for Thailand.”

The Mobility report also features articles on fixed wireless access and how to make it a reality, streaming video from megabits to gigabytes, and developing the smart wireless manufacturing market.

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