According to the November 2019 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report:
- 5G to cover up to 65 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2025 and handle 45 percent of global mobile data traffic
- Smartphone users to consume a global average of 24 GB per month in 2025 from 7.2 GB currently, as video usage increases and new services become available
- Total number of cellular IoT connections estimated at five billion by the end of 2025, from 1.3 billion by end of 2019
Ericsson expects the global number of 5G subscriptions to top 2.6 billion within the next six years, driven by sustained momentum and a rapidly developing 5G ecosystem.
The forecast is included in the November 2019 edition of the Ericson Mobility Report, alongside a range of other forecasts with an end-of-2025 timeline and communications service provider insights.
Average monthly data-traffic-per-smartphone is forecast to increase from the current figure of 7.2 GB to 24 GB by the end of 2025, in part driven by new consumer behavior, such as Virtual Reality (VR) streaming. With 7.2 GB per month, one can stream 21 minutes of HD video (1280 x 720) daily, while 24 GB would allow streaming 30 minutes of HD video with an additional six minutes of VR each day.
The report also projects that 5G will cover up to 65 percent of the global population by the end of 2025 and handle 45 percent of global mobile data traffic.
2019 is the year leading communications service providers in Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and North America switched on their 5G networks. South Korea has already seen a big 5G uptake since its April 2019 launch. More than three million subscriptions were collectively recorded by the country’s service providers by the end of September 2019.
China’s launch of 5G in late October has also led to an update of the estimated 5G subscriptions for the end of 2019, from 10 million to 13 million.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says:
“It is encouraging to see that 5G now has broad support from almost all device makers. In 2020, 5G-compatible devices will enter the volume market, which will scale up 5G adoption.”
“The question is no longer if, but how quickly we can convert use cases into relevant applications for consumers and enterprises. With 4G remaining a strong connectivity enabler in many parts of the world, modernizing networks is also key to this technological change we’re going through.”
Given its current momentum, 5G subscription uptake is expected to be significantly faster than that of LTE. The most rapid uptake is expected in North America with 74 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region forecast to be 5G by the end of 2025. North East Asia is expected to follow at 56 percent, with Europe at 55 percent.
IoT connections outlook
NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies are estimated to account for 52 percent of these cellular IoT connections in 2025.
The Massive IoT technologies NB-IoT and Cat-M1 continue to be rolled out around the world. 2G and 3G connectivity still enable the majority of IoT applications, but during 2019 the number of Massive IoT connections are estimated to have increased by a factor of 3, reaching close to 100 million at the end of the year.
Massive IoT primarily consists of wide-area use cases, connecting massive numbers of low-complexity, low-cost devices with long battery life and relatively low throughput. NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies complement each other, and many service providers are deploying both technologies. Out of the 114 service providers2 identified as having launched at least one of the NB-IoT or LTE-M technologies, close to 25 percent have launched both technologies. At the end of 2025, NB-IoT and Cat-M are projected to account for 52 percent of all cellular IoT connections.
Broadband IoT mainly includes wide-area use cases that require higher throughput, lower latency and larger data volumes than Massive IoT technologies can support. LTE is already supporting many use cases in this segment. By the end of 2025, 28 percent of cellular IoT connections will be broadband IoT, with 4G connecting the majority.
Critical IoT includes both wide-area and local-area use cases that have requirements for extremely low latency and ultra-high reliability. The first modules supporting Critical IoT use cases are expected to be deployed in 2020. Only a small fraction of total cellular IoT connections will be Critical IoT in 2025.
North East Asia is leading the global adoption of cellular IoT. At the end of 2019, it is estimated that the region will account for 60 percent of all cellular IoT connections, a figure set to increase to 68 percent in 2025. This reflects both the ambition and size of the cellular IoT market in this region.
Total number of cellular IoT connections now seen at five billion by the end of 2025 from 1.3 billion by the end of 2019 – a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent.
Customer insights shared in collaborative feature articles
In a collaborative article written with SK Telecom, the report takes a detailed look at how the South Korean service provider is applying a 5G cluster deployment strategy centered around providing a premium 5G network experience and innovative services to customers in selected geographical locations.
Another article, co-authored with the MTN Group, examines how the South African-based service provider’s focus on user experience and customer loyalty has resulted in measurable network improvements and commercial gains in Rwanda and Ghana.
The report also takes an in-depth look at service providers’ tariff plans, revealing that most service providers who have launched 5G have priced 5G packages about 20 percent higher than their nearest available 4G offering. Lastly, there is an article describing how automotive IoT meets different use case requirements of automotive and transport applications.
2 GSA, Oct 2019
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