Ericsson ups 5G forecast

Another 5G forecast. Another revision upwards. Largely on the back of faster-than-expected takeup of the next-gen tech in China, Ericsson thinks there'll be 190 million 5G subscriptions "worldwide" by the end of this year.

The lion's share of this number is in North East Asia (which includes South Korea as well as China) with 170 million 5G subscriptions. The Swedish supplier's previous global estimate for 5G subscriptions by the end of 2020 was 100 million.

The 5G outlook was published today as part of the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. Ericsson is not the first to revisit its 5G numbers. After factoring in a more bullish China data, CCS Insight recently upgraded its forecast too.

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For other parts of the world, however, Ericsson said it made "slight downward adjustments" due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Several spectrum auctions in Europe have been delayed, for example, which pushes back 5G adoption in the near term. Ericsson also gave North America the "slight downward adjustment" treatment.

Looking down the line a few years, Ericsson still expects 5G to be the "fastest deployed mobile communication technology in history." By the end of 2025, Ericsson forecasts 2.8 billion 5G subscriptions globally, which, according to its figures, will account for around 30% of all mobile subscriptions at that time.

On a regional basis, and in terms of 5G penetration, Ericsson anticipates other parts of the world will start to catch up with North East Asia, and, in the case of North America, overtake it by the end of its forecast period (2019-25).

Ericsson reckons North East Asia will have a 5G penetration of 60% by then, closely followed by Western Europe (55%). In North America, Ericsson anticipates close to 325 million 5G subscriptions, which is about 74% of mobile subscriptions.

There is also the expectation that 5G networks will carry nearly half of the world's mobile data traffic by the end of 2025.

According to Ericsson's figures, global total mobile data traffic reached around 33EB (exabytes) per month by the end of 2019, which is projected to hit 164EB per month by the end of Ericsson's forecast period. (It has been said that 5EB would be equal to all of the words ever spoken by mankind.)

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— Ken Wieland, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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