Report predicts 3.9bn 5G subscriptions worldwide by 2026

19 Jul 2021

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GlobalData says revenues will hit $609bn within five years with advanced bundles expected to drive uptake.

Research and consulting outlet GlobalData has predicted that within five years there will be 3.9bn mobile 5G subscriptions worldwide.

The report, which comments that “we haven’t even begun to see 5G’s capabilities” says that, by 2026, subscriptions to the new generation technology will make up approximately 35pc of all mobile telecoms subscriptions globally. It notes that operators in most markets are only now beginning to offer advanced bundles to their customers which will drive uptake.

GlobalData points to several examples, such as Vodafone offering smart glasses and augmented reality apps as part of some 5G bundles in Europe, or EE in the UK and Telia in Sweden including Xbox game passes as part of select packages. It says that these kinds of service bundles are a key way to entice users to pay for premium network services and proved successful in encouraging uptake of 4G.

The report also says that revenue for operators from 5G will “greatly outpace that of earlier technology generations”. By 2026, GlobalData predicts that the average revenue per user of 5G mobile subscriptions will be $14.15 per month, compared to just $5.48 for 4G.

Lynette Luna, a principal analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Although we have not yet seen all that 5G is capable of in early deployments, the technology has a multitude of future opportunities for telecom operators. Not only will capacity bring down the per-bit cost for carriers, the basic cost efficiencies that 5G brings will enable operators and developers alike to create new applications for the technology as it becomes to mature and develop.

“Operators will continually improve their bundles with new 5G features. Eventually they will take advantage of ultra-low latency and consistent gigabit data speeds.”

In April, Irish telecoms operator Eir reported that its 5G network is available to more than half of the country’s population. In June, tech giant IBM announced a series of deals with networks across the globe to help them deploy 5G networks supported by its AI and cloud-based services.

Huawei Ireland claimed last December that 80pc of Irish consumers want widespread 5G coverage by 2025.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin