Tuesday, 28 November 2017 23:45

Ericsson: 1 billion 5G subscriptions in 2023 predicted, with huge mobile data surge

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5G is going to rock our IoT net-connected socks off, surpassing predictions, and will reach 20% of the global population in six years time, as mobile data traffic grows 8x though video and more, using 110 exabytes per month.

With a forecast of one billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by 2023 being among the key statistics presented in the just-released November 2017 edition of the "Ericsson Mobility Report", the next six years will see amazing growth in 5G connectivity – as even better 5G starts arriving for the 80% of Planet Earth in the years thereafter.

We're also told that "LTE will be the dominant access technology by end of this year, driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks", – especially with all that video content being viewed.

So, what's the detail Ericsson gave on the coming initial and ongoing 5G network deployment?

"Expected to be deployed first in dense urban areas, 5G will cover over 20% of the world’s population by the end of 2023. The first commercial networks based on 5G New Radio (NR) are expected to go live in 2019, with major deployments from 2020. Early 5G deployments are foreseen in several markets, including the US, South Korea, Japan and China".

Global mobile data traffic to surpass 100 exabytes per month in 2023

Ericsson then states that "Mobile data traffic is expected to surge by eight times during the forecast period, reaching 110 exabytes per month by 2023. This corresponds to 5.5 million years of HD video streaming.

"All regions maintain mobile data traffic growth, with North America showing the highest average usage per smartphone, exceeding 7GB per month by the end of 2017.

"Video consumption continues to fuel mobile broadband traffic growth. The driving force behind video’s uptrend are the young millennials — those in the 15 to 24 age bracket — who stream 2.5X more than those over 45.

"Streaming video in higher resolutions and an emerging trend of increased streaming of immersive video formats, such as 360-degree video, will have an impact on data traffic consumption volumes. For example, a YouTube 360-degree video uses 4 to 5 times as much bandwidth as a normal YouTube video of the same perceived quality."

Article continues below image which links to the report, please read on for LTE deployments and more. 

LTE deployments – momentum continues

"By the end of this year," Ericsson says "LTE will be the dominant mobile access technology. It is estimated to reach 5.5 billion subscriptions and cover more than 85% of the world’s population by the end of 2023.

"Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has been launched in more than 125 networks in over 60 countries across all regions. VoLTE subscriptions are projected to reach 5.5 billion by the end of 2023, accounting for more than 80 percent of the combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

"Smartwatches are one of the latest devices to use VoLTE. Users are able to make voice calls directly on their smartwatch, without having a smartphone nearby (multi-SIM). Calls can also be transferred between a user’s smartphone and watch."

It's at this point that Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy officer and head of Technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, says: “The latest report highlights trends in mobile subscription and data traffic growth, as well as the industry’s effort to tackle the increasing demands on mobile networks globally.

"In addition, the report examines the emergence of new use cases as network capabilities evolve – smartwatches, IoT alarms, and augmented reality-assisted maintenance and repair, to name a few. As we prepare for 5G, these trends will continue to set the agenda for the mobile industry going forward.”

Further reasons to read the report, including the featuring of three articles on rising industry trends: 

  • Shifting mobile data plans examines the move to ever larger plans as well as the actual data consumption within different plans. It highlights the importance of a good mix of data plans, including unlimited, to address a variety of consumer needs.
  • Enhancing the event experience focuses on how event organisers and operators can meet visitors’ needs for more digitalized services and immersive experiences.
  • Millennials’ expectations for 5G explores how this age group perceives their mobile experience, their hopes on 5G, and what their viewpoints imply for operators.

For this report, Australia specific data hasn't been released. However, regional reports for Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America having also been published along with the Global Ericsson Mobility Report.

Ericsson is holding a webinar at 3am AEDT on 29 November in Australia, or in Northern hemisphere, on 28 November at 5pm CET, 4pm GMT, 11am EST and 8am PST, which you can register for here

Ericsson's full report can be freely read, without registration, here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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