North America is forecast to lead the world in 5G subscription penetration in the next five years with nine-of-every-ten subscriptions in the region expected to be 5G by 2027, says the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. The report further predicts that current global 5G subscriptions will pass the one billion milestone by the end of 2022. The 2027-timeline also includes projections that 5G will account for: 82 percent of subscriptions in Western Europe; 80 percent in the Gulf Cooperation Council region; and 74 percent in North East Asia.This is the 22nd edition of Ericsson Mobility Report that forecasts global mobile network data traffic doubled in the past two years.
The 5G timeline for India
In India, where 5G deployments have yet to begin, the report sees 5G to account for nearly 40 percent of all subscriptions by 2027. In India, mobile broadband is the foundation on which the government’s “Digital India” initiative will be realized. Mobile networks in India continue to play a pivotal role in driving social and economic inclusion, as service providers in India prepare to launch 5G this year. 4G is the dominant subscription type driving connectivity growth in India. While 4G contributes around 68% of the total mobile subscriptions in India, its contribution is expected to drop to 55% in 2027. 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline annually to an estimated 700 million subscriptions in 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G post introduction of 5G in India. Commercial launches of 5G networks are planned for the second half of 2022 in India, with enhanced mobile broadband expected to be the initial main use case. 5G will represent around 39 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region at the end of 2027, with about 500 million subscriptions.
“Total mobile data traffic in the India region is estimated to grow by a factor of 4 between 2021 and 2027. This is driven by high growth in the number of smartphone users and an increase in average usage per smartphone,” said Dr Thiaw Seng Ng, head of network evolution, SEA, Oceania and India, Ericsson. The average data traffic per smartphone in the India region is the second highest globally. It is projected to grow from 20GB per month in 2021 to around 50GB per month in 2027 – a CAGR of 16 percent.
‘5G growing faster than previous-generation mobile tech’
The Ericsson Mobility Report claims that 5G is scaling faster than all previous mobile technology generations. About a quarter of the world’s population currently has access to 5G coverage. Some 70 million 5G subscriptions were added during the first quarter of 2022 alone. By 2027, about three-quarters of the world’s population will be able to access 5G, according to the report. In global terms, 5G is forecast to account for almost half of all subscriptions by 2027, topping 4.4 billion subscriptions. Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks, Ericsson, said, “The latest Ericsson Mobility Report confirms 5G as the fastest growing mobile technology generation ever, and Ericsson is playing a key role in making it happen. We work every day with our customers and ecosystem partners around the world to ensure that millions more people, enterprises, industries, and societies enjoy the benefits of 5G connectivity as soon as possible.”
On the Internet of Things (IoT), the report notes that in 2021, broadband IoT (4G/5G) overtook 2G and 3G as the technology that connects the largest share of all cellular IoT connected devices, accounting for 44 percent of all connections. Massive IoT technologies (NB-IoT, Cat-M) increased by almost 80 percent during 2021, reaching close to 330 million connections. The number of IoT devices connected by these technologies is expected to overtake 2G/3G in 2023.

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