5G Estimated To Reach 1.5 Billion Subscriptions In 2024 – Ericsson Mobility Report

5G is forecast to cover more than 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2024 * Mobile data traffic grew 79 percent year-on-year in Q3 2018

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 Mobility Report.

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.

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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.”

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.

In 2024, 5G networks will carry 25 percent of global mobile data traffic

Monthly mobile data traffic per smartphone continues to increase in all regions, driven by improved device capabilities and more affordable data plans, as well as an increase in data-intensive content.

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North America has the highest monthly usage, reaching 8.6 gigabytes (GB) at the end of this year, and is set to reach 50GB by the end of 2024. In North East Asia, traffic per smartphone has grown strongly during 2018 – increasing by around 140 percent year-on-year. The region now has the second-highest monthly usage at 7.3GB and  is projected to reach 21GB at the end of the forecast period. Attractive data plans as well as innovative mobile apps and content are driving growth in China.

Total mobile data traffic is expected to be five times higher.

Close to 90 percent of total mobile data traffic is generated by smartphones today – a figure which is projected to reach 95 percent at the end of 2024. As monthly usage per smartphone continues to increase, total mobile data traffic is predicted to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent over the forecast period, reaching 136 exabytes (EB) per month by the end of 2024. It is expected that 25 percent of mobile data traffic worldwide will be carried by 5G networks at that time. This is 1.3 times more than the total traffic today.

Smartphone traffic per subscription will continue to grow, driven by increasing video quality and immersive formats. By the end of 2024, it is estimated that a smartphone will consume more than
21GB of data per month on average – nearly 4 times the amount consumed in 2018. In addition to this increased usage, the number of smartphone subscriptions is set to increase by 45 percent, reaching a total of 7.2 billion.

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