Ericsson: 5G is ‘entering its next phase’

‘5G is no longer just a novelty,’ according to the November Ericsson Mobility Report

An estimated 1 billion people will be covered by 5G networks by the end of this year and 5G subscriptions are expected to hit 220 million, according to the newest Ericsson Mobility Report.

Meanwhile, the ongoing global pandemic “has highlighted the impact connectivity has on our lives and has acted as a catalyst for rapid change” and forced “a big leap toward digitalization,” according to Fredrik Jejdling, EVP and head of networks at Ericsson.

“5G is no longer just a novelty,” Jejdling wrote in the report introduction. In a separate statement, he also said that “5G is entering the next phase, when new devices and applications make the most out of the benefits it provides, while service providers continue to build out 5G. Mobile networks are a critical infrastructure for many aspects of everyday life and 5G will be key to future economic prosperity.”

While Ericsson has raised its projections around 5G subscriptions this year due to faster than expected uptake in China, the report also noted that overall, net mobile additions during the third quarter of this year were low — around 11 million, likely due to the pandemic and associated lockdowns. The company has adjusted its long-term global mobile subscriptions (encompassing all mobile generations) slightly downwards, expecting 8.8 billion by the end of 2026. Of those, around 3.5 billion are expected to be 5G connections.

LTE will still be the dominant mobile network technology over the forecast period through 2026, with subscriptions are expected to peak next year and then slowly decline as more people migrate to 5G.

Among the report’s other findings:

-By the end of 2020, Ericsson estimates that there will be around 6.1 billion smartphone subscriptions globally, rising to 7.5 billion by 2026.

-Subscriptions for fixed broadband services are projected to grow by around 4% per year through 2026. Ericsson expects that FWA traffic will account for about 25% of total mobile network data traffic by 2026.

-Mobile broadband subscriptions make up 81% of all current mobile subscriptions.

-In northeast Asia, Ericsson anticipates that by 2026, 5G penetration will reach 66% of subscriptions. In western Europe, it expects 5G penetration to reach 68% during the same time period, and 80% penetration in North America,

-Ericsson also noted a number of developments in 5G devices and ecosystem maturity: 5G Standalone networks are being launched, millimeter-wave device support is expanding and the pace of network advancements such as New Radio carrier aggregation has accelerated during the course of 2020.

Access the full Ericsson Mobility Report for November here.

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