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5G to reach 1.9bn subscriptions in 5 years

Written by Hannah McGrath

The number of 5G subscriptions is on course to reach 1.9 billion in the next five years, as the global rollout gathers pace and users switch to 5G-enabled devices.

Ericsson’s latest mobility report found that there were 44 million new 5G subscriptions recorded in the first quarter of 2019 alone.

The 5G network, which is being rolled out by governments and infrastructure providers across the world, is expected to carry up to 35 per cent of mobile data traffic by 2024, with China leading the way in subscription growth, with an additional 30 million in the first quarter of this year.

The uptake of 5G subscriptions is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63 per cent of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being for 5G in 2024. North East Asia follows in second place (47 per cent), and Europe in third (40 per cent).

Total mobile data traffic continued to soar globally in the first quarter of 2019, up 82 per cent year-on-year. It is predicted to reach 131 electrical balance (EB) per month by the end of 2024, at which time 35 per cent is projected to be over 5G networks, the report found.

In addition, there were found to be more than one billion cellular Internet of Things (IoT) connections globally, a figure that is expected to rise to 4.1 billion by the end of 2024, of which 45 per cent are represented by so-called ‘Massive IoT’.

Industries using Massive IoT include utilities with smart metering, healthcare in the form of medical wearables, and transport with tracking sensors.

Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks at Ericsson, said: “5G is definitely taking off and at a rapid pace – this reflects the service providers’ and consumers’ enthusiasm for the technology.

However, he added: “the full benefits of 5G can only be reaped with the establishment of a solid ecosystem in which technology, regulatory, security, and industry partners all have a part to play.”