Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G subscriptions to reach 5.6bn by 2029

Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G subscriptions to reach 5.6bn by 2029

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Researchers estimate that 5G subscriptions will be close to 5.6 billion by the end of 2029 according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.

About 160 million 5G subscriptions were added globally in the first three months of 2024 - bringing the total to more than 1.7 billion. Almost 600 million new subscriptions are expected in 2024 as a whole.

Researchers estimate that 5G population coverage beyond mainland China set to double from 40% at the end of 2023 to 80% by the end of 2029.

5G is expected to account for about 60% of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2029.

Regionally, North America is forecast to have the highest penetration by the end of 2029, with 90% (or 430 million) of subscriptions expected to be 5G.

Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK and Ireland added: “It's fantastic to see the robust growth of 5G. The UK has so far achieved approximately 85% outdoor 5G coverage by a least one operator, but our work is far from done.

"It's crucial that we leverage 5G mid-band spectrum and deliver top-tier standalone 5G services nationwide. With UK operators already launching standalone 5G, this is a great platform to collaborate and unlock the full potential of this technology - whether it's through fixed wireless access, customised consumer packages, or innovative industry use cases.”

FWA growth

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) continues to grow in strength as a 5G use for communication service providers (CSPs) globally with a sharp increase over the past year in the number of SCPs offering the service, according to the report.

Of the CSPs sampled for the Ericsson study (310 globally), 241 offered FWA services as of April 2024. Of these, 128 - about 53% - included a 5G FWA offering. This is a twelve-point increase on the corresponding period in 2023 - a growth of 29%.

The speed, data handling and low-latency capabilities of 5G FWA increase the attractiveness of speed-based FWA tariff plans to CSPs, with downlink and uplink data parameters, similar to cable or fibre offerings.

This has helped to drive an almost 50% growth in the number of service providers offering 5G FWA speed-based tariffs in the past year, with 40% of all FWA CSPs now doing so.

FWA is currently second only to enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) as a 5G use case.

“The June 2024 Ericsson Mobility Report shows continued strong uptake of 5G subscriptions. eMBB and FWA are the leading use cases, with signs that 5G capabilities are influencing service providers’ Fixed Wireless Access offerings,” said Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of networks at Ericsson.

“The report also highlights the need for increased deployment of 5G Standalone technology to fully realise the potential of 5G.”

Around 300 CSPs globally now offer 5G services, of which about 50 have launched 5G Standalone (SA).

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