In November last year Ericsson released its Mobility Report (Full Report) that forecasts the latest position on the uptake and the roll out of global 5G services. It showed that 5G networks are rolling out at pace and 5G will become the dominant service in the next 5 years. So, let’s look in a little more detail at the main points.

Network Coverage

Global 5G population coverage was around 5% at the end of 2019 with most deployments in large cities. That has grown to 15% by the end of 2020 or more than 1 billion people global that have access to 5G networks. Furthermore, Ericsson forecasts that 5G will provide coverage for 60% of the world’s population by 2026, making it the fastest deployed mobile communications technology in history.

5G Subscriptions

While coverage is making good head way, 5G subscriptions are still at an early stage as 5G enabled handsets are still relatively new. The first 5G enabled iPhone only launched at the end of 2020. Even so Ericsson forecasts that there will have been 220 million 5G subscriptions at the end of 2020. This is forecast to grow rapidly in the next 5 years reaching 3.5 billion by 2026. In the US alone 5G will account for 80% of mobile subscriptions in this timeframe. Ericsson forecasts that 5G subscription uptake is expected to be significantly faster than 4G as in the chart below shows:

Source: Ericsson Mobility Report (Nov 2020)

Mobile Data Usage

Mobile data continues to grow at a staggering rate, reaching more than 50 EB/month at the end of 2020 (an Exabyte is a million, million, million bytes) and by 2026 Ericsson forecasts that 5G will account for 54% of total mobile data. It’s growth that is fuelled by video that is forecast to account for 77% of data by 2026.

Source: Ericsson Mobility Report (Nov 2020

The report shows that the 5G evolution is well and truly underway and as second and third generation 5G enabled handsets roll into the market it will see massive acceleration over the next 5 years. As 5G becomes more ubiquitous some of the new and exciting possibilities it enables such as Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) for last mile broadband, massive IoT and Ultra Reliable, Low Latency Communication (URLLC) for mission critical and Industry 4.0 applications will become significant, as we connect everything to everything. In the meantime, 5G will deliver dramatic improvements in video streaming and mobile gaming helping to grow these applications areas too.

The fact that the 5G roll out is happening at pace, even in the face of a pandemic, has to be good news for the UK as we position ourselves to take advantage of this game changing technology and become a major player in the 5G world.

Source: Ericsson Mobility Report (Nov 2020) – Get the Full Report