Global 5G subscriptions are anticipated to ramp up rapidly to reach half a billion subscriptions by 2022, while smartphone subscriptions overall are expected to hit 6.8 billion in the same timeframe, according to a new report.
In its latest Mobility Report, Ericsson said North America will lead the way with a quarter of all the region’s mobile subscriptions expected to be for 5G by 2022. It will be followed by the Asia Pacific region with 10% of all subscriptions for 5G.
The Swedish telecoms company said the Middle East and Africa will dramatically shift from GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions to 3G and 4G (WCDMA/HSPA and LTE), with 80% of subscriptions in the next six years.
There will be about 3.9 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of this year, a figure that is forecast to grow to 6.8 billion by 2022.
While about 90% of existing subscriptions are on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE (3G and 4G) networks, the mix is expected to shift so that 95% of smartphone subscriptions in 2022 will be on WCDMA/HSPA, LTE, and 5G networks.
In its earlier forecast from June this year, Ericsson predicted that there will be 6.3 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2021.
Ericsson chief strategy and technology officer Ulf Ewaldsson said about 90% of smartphone subscriptions are currently on 3G and 4G networks and standardised 5G networks are expected to be available in 2020.
Ewaldsson said: “We are already seeing a great interest among operators in launching pre-standard 5G networks. 5G will accelerate the digital transformation in many industries, enabling new use cases in areas such as IoT, automation, transport and big data.”
Overall mobile subscriptions are also forecast to grow from 7.5 billion today to 8.9 billion by 2022, with 90% of subscriptions being for mobile broadband, the report said.
Mobile video traffic is expected to increase by about 50% annually through 2022 to account for nearly 75% of all mobile data traffic.
Social networking will be the second biggest data traffic type after video, forecast to grow by 39% annually in the coming six years.
The report predicts there will be 29 billion connected devices in total by 2022, of which about 18 billion will be IoT devices.