5G subscriptions to reach half a billion in 2022

5G subscriptions to reach half a billion in 2022

Released today, the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts that there will be 550 million 5G subscriptions in 2022.

North America will lead the way in uptake of 5G subscriptions, where a quarter of all mobile subscriptions are forecast to be for 5G in 2022.

Asia Pacific will be the second fastest growing region for 5G subscriptions, with 10 percent of all subscriptions being 5G in 2022. From 2016 to 2022, Middle East and Africa will dramatically shift from a region with a majority of GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions, to 80 percent of all subscriptions on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE.

By the end of 2016, there will be 3.9 billion smartphone subscriptions. Almost 90 percent of these subscriptions will be registered on WCDMA/HSPA and LTE networks. By 2022, the number of smartphone subscriptions is forecast to reach 6.8 billion, with more than 95 percent of the subscriptions registered on WCDMA/HSPA, LTE and 5G networks.

Ulf Ewaldsson, Chief Strategy and Technology Officer, Ericsson, says:
“Almost 90 percent of smartphone subscriptions are on 3G and 4G networks today and standardized 5G networks are expected to be available in 2020. 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.”

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also forecasts that in 2022, there will be 8.9 billion mobile subscriptions, of which 90 percent will be for mobile broadband. At this point in time, there will be 6.1 billion unique subscribers.

IoT in focus – Key highlights:

  • Around 29 billion connected devices¹ are forecast by 2022, of which around 18 billion will be related to IoT.
  • 70% of wide-area IoT devices will use cellular technology in 2022.
  • In 2018, mobile phones are expected to be surpassed in numbers by IoT devices, which include connected cars, machines, meters, wearables and other consumer electronics. Between 2016 and 2022, IoT devices are expected to increase at a CAGR of 21 percent, driven by new use cases.
  • There will be around 400 million IoT devices with cellular connections at the end of 2016.

IoT device connections

In the figure below illustrating all connected devices, IoT is divided into short-range and wide-area segments.

The short-range segment consists of devices connected by unlicensed radio with a typical range of up to around 100 meters, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee. This category also includes devices connected over fixed line local area connections.

The wide-area category consists of devices using cellular connections (3GPP-based with some CDMA), as well as unlicensed low-power technologies, such as Sigfox, LoRa and Ingenu.

Chart: total number of connected devices per year (Ericsson forecasts for 2014-2022)

1.5 billion IoT devices with cellular connections by 2022

There will be around 400 million IoT devices with cellular connections at the end of 2016 and that number is projected to reach 1.5 billion in 2022, or around 70 percent of the wide-area category. This growth is due to increased industry focus and 3GPP standardization of cellular IoT technologies. Cellular IoT connections benefit from enhancements in provisioning, device management, service enablement and security.

Within the wide-area IoT segment, two distinct sub-segments with different requirements have emerged: massive and critical applications.

Massive IoT connections are characterized by high connection volumes and small data traffic volumes, low cost devices and low energy consumption. Many things will be connected through capillary networks.²

At the other end of the scale, critical IoT connections place very different demands on the network: ultra-reliability, availability, low latency and high data throughput.

There are, however, many use cases between these two extremes, which today rely on 2G, 3G or 4G connectivity.

Today, LTE’s share of cellular IoT devices is around 5 percent. Declining modem costs, evolving LTE functionality and 5G capabilities are all expected to extend the range of applications for critical IoT deployments.

chart: traffic characteristics of deployed massive IoT connected devices in a city scenario (source: Ericsson)

¹ In our forecast a connected device is a physical object that has an IP stack, enabling two-way communication over a network interface. Traditional landline phones are included for legacy reasons
² Connected devices connecting to a wide-area network through a common gateway
The Ericsson Mobility Report is an industry-leading publication on mobile data traffic, providing in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe. The report uses these measurements and analysis, together with internal forecasts and other relevant studies, to provide insights into current traffic and market trends in the Networked Society.
Source: http://globenewswire.com

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