Tuesday, 11 June 2019 11:12

5G uptake even faster than expected, says Ericsson Featured

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Crowds with smartphones on street Crowds with smartphones on street

An extra 400 million enhanced mobile broadband subscriptions globally by the end of 2024 has been forecast by Ericsson in the wake of “rapid early momentum and enthusiasm” for 5G.

In the June 2019 edition of its Mobility Report forecasts, the Swedish telecommunications equipment vendor forecasts 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions — up from 1.5 billion predicted in the November 2018 edition — an increase of almost 27%.

According to Ericsson, other forecasts have also increased notably as a result of the rapid 5G uptake, with 5G coverage forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population by end of 2024 – and could surge to 65% as spectrum sharing technology enables 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.

Ericsson notes that communication service providers in several markets have switched on 5G following the launch of 5G-compatible smartphones, including Telstra, which launched Australia’s first 5G network , with the first 5G consumer devices available last month.

“As 5G devices increasingly become available and more 5G networks go live, over 10 million 5G subscriptions are projected worldwide by the end of 2019,” Ericsson adds.

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

“5G will have a positive impact on people’s lives and businesses, realising gains beyond the IoT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, 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."

Ericsson also reports that total mobile data traffic continued to soar globally in Q1 2019, up 82% year-on-year, and predicted to reach 131 exabytes per month by the end of 2024, “at which time 35% is projected to be over 5G networks”.

“As per recent trends, most of this increase will originate from video traffic. Video traffic in mobile networks is forecast to grow by around 34% annually up to 2024 to account for nearly three-quarters of all mobile data traffic, from approximately 60% back in 2018,” Ericsson said.

The report also features articles written by service providers, including Telstra, on how operators can “manage the ever-growing demand for data and video while maintaining consumer experience, particularly for live content streaming with LTE Broadcast”.

Ericsson says LTE-B technology was switched on nationally across the Telstra mobile network on 11 July 2018 as part of an end-to-end service streaming live Australian Football League (AFL) and games – and in the first three months of the new service, Telstra broadcast more than 50 AFL games and related live events, resulting in 43,000 streams to broadcast users which equated to 4700 hours of consumed video.

“Telstra has observed that LTE-B users watch a stream more than 25% longer than viewers watching the same content on a non LTE-B enabled device. LTE-B also improves the video and audio experience for customers watching live content.”

Emilio Romeo, head of Ericsson, Australia & New Zealand, says: “We are very impressed by the momentum being generated by markets deploying 5G and are proud to be working with leading operators, including here in Australia, to launch the first 5G networks around the world.

“As network capabilities continue to grow, consumers are demanding enhanced forms of experiences; 360-degree video and AR/VR applications will become commonplace. Implementation and uptake of such technologies will only grow as 5G is rolled out, and compatible devices are successively introduced.

“As demand for data continues to grow, we have continued to work together with operators to better manage the ever-growing demand for data and video while maintaining consumer experiences, especially around live content streaming, one instance of which is on accelerating the LTE-B ecosystem with Telstra in Australia.”

Ericsson also notes that there are a billion cellular IoT connections globally, a figure that it says is expected to rise to 4.1 billion by the end of 2024, of which 45% are represented by Massive IoT.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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