Ericsson expects the global number of 5G subscriptions to top 190 million by the end of 2020 and 2.8 billion by the end of 2025. These forecasts are included in the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, along with projections for data traffic growth, and regional subscriptions.
The report also takes an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running, and families connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says, “The spread of Covid-19 has prompted people all over the world to change their daily lives and, in many cases, work or study from home. This has led to a rapid shift of network traffic from business to residential areas. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile and fixed networks are increasingly playing an even bigger part of critical national infrastructure.”
While 5G subscription growth in some markets has slowed as a result of the pandemic, this is outweighed by other markets where it is accelerating, prompting Ericsson to raise its year-end 2020 forecast for global 5G subscriptions.
”Beyond measuring the success of 5G in subscriptions, its impact ultimately will be judged by the benefits it brings to people and enterprises,” Jejdling adds. ”5G was made for innovation and this crisis has highlighted the true value of connectivity and the role it can play in restarting economies.”
Changes in behavior due to lockdown restrictions have caused measurable changes in the usage of both fixed and mobile networks. The largest share of the traffic increase has been absorbed by fixed residential networks, which has experienced a 20-100 percent growth. But many service providers also noticed a spike in demand on their mobile network.
In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83 percent of the respondents from 11 countries claim that ICT helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown. The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity.
Looking ahead, while 57 percent say they will save money for financial security, one-third plan to invest in 5G and an improved broadband at home to be better prepared for a potential second wave of Covid-19.
By 2025, 5G is predicted to be the second most popular cellular technology in the region, only behind LTE, surpassing 270 million subscriptions and accounting for around 20 percent of all mobile subscriptions.
The data traffic per smartphone in South east Asia and Oceania is expected to reach 25GB by 2025 growing at a CAGR of 33 per cent. The total mobile data traffic in South east Asia is expected to reach 25 EB/month from 3.2 EB/month growing at a CAGR of 40 per cent.
Todd Ashton, Head of Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh states, “In the initial phase of 5G introduction in Malaysia, we expect 5G to be used for managing the network capacity, speed and quality in metropolitan areas with enhanced mobile broadband to address the huge traffic growth. Over time, new, exciting innovations in 5G for business will come with IoT use cases as 5G opens up opportunities for operators to digitalise industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, automotive and energy/utilities.”