5G subscriptions to top one billion by 2023, says Ericsson

5G subscriptions to top one billion by 2023, says Ericsson

There is set to be more than one billion 5G subscriptions in use by 2023, according to a report by Ericsson, with more than 20% of the global population set to be covered within the next six years.

With the first commercial deployments of 5G New Radio (NR) set to go live in 2019, the Swedish vendor estimate 5G deployments will be rapid in urban areas, according to its new Mobility Report. Overall, Ericsson predicts there will be 9.1 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide by 2023, up from 7.8 billion in 2017.

North America is expected to lead the way in 5G growth, with 37% of subscriptions predicted to have access to 5G by 2023. North East Asia is close behind with 34%, while Western Europe is third with 16%, according to Ericsson.

Mobile data is also expected to surge, growing by more than eight times to hit around 110 Exabytes per month by 2023 – the equivalent of 5.5 million years of HD video streaming. North America is expected to see the highest average usage, surpassing 7GB per month by the end of 2017. Worldwide, the average monthly data per user is expected to hit 17GB – up from 2.9GB in 2017.

The key driving force behind this will be demand for video services, Ericsson said, with young millennials – aged 15 to 24 – more than 2.5x likely to stream than those over the age of 45. By 2023, Ericsson predicts video traffic will account for 75% of all mobile data traffic.

LTE is also expected to see significant growth, becoming the dominant mobile access technology by the end of 2017, and estimated to reach 5.5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2023, covering more than 85% of the world’s population.

Ericsson predicts Voice over LTE, currently available on more than 125 networks in over 60 countries, will see the same number of subscriptions by the end of 2023, accounting for more than 80% of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

The number of internet of things (IoT) devices in use will also grow significantly, with a CAGR of 19% up to 2023, when more than 20 billion connected IoT devices are estimated to be in operation.

Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy officer and head of technology and emerging business, Ericsson, says: “The latest report highlights trends in mobile subscription and data traffic growth, as well as the industry’s effort to tackle the increasing demands on mobile networks globally.

“In addition, the report examines the emergence of new use cases as network capabilities evolve – smartwatches, IoT alarms, and augmented reality-assisted maintenance and repair, to name a few. As we prepare for 5G, these trends will continue to set the agenda for the mobile industry going forward.”

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