5G will cover 15pc of world population by 2022, Ericsson predicts

13 Jun 2017

Image: supparsorn/Shutterstock

Ericsson’s latest report suggests that significant developments are afoot on the road to 5G.

About 2.6bn subscribers are to be added to mobile broadband networks over the next six years, Ericsson predicts.

That’s according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, which names 4G technology LTE (Long-Term Evolution) as the most pervasive technology in history.

‘We anticipate that this will lead to more than half a billion 5G subscriptions and a [global] population coverage of 15pc by 2022’

The 2.6bn subscribers is the equivalent of filling a European championship soccer stadium, with a capacity for 50,000, 20 times each day in the next six years.

The report also revealed that in 2018, LTE will overtake GSM as the largest access technology by number of subscriptions.

The speed of adoption is unprecedented

It has taken only five years for LTE to cover 2.5bn, compared to the 3G technologies WCDMA and HSPA, which took eight years to reach that milestone.

In the first quarter of 2017, around 250m new LTE subscribers were added.“Based on measurements made in hundreds of mobile networks, the Ericsson Mobility Report data truly illustrates the tremendous underlying growth in the industry,” said Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy officer and head of technology and emerging business at Ericsson.

“4G subscriptions are increasing faster than ever, Voice over LTE uptake is accelerating and traffic growth has reached levels we have not seen since 2013,” he said.

On the road to 5G

The Ericsson report revealed that the use of smartphones and easy access to mobile internet services comprise a major part of traffic growth.

By the end of 2022, based on smartphones, total mobile data traffic will have increased 900pc, reaching 66 exabytes per month.

While LTE uptake is driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks, 5G deployment will also be driven by the need for enhanced mobile broadband capabilities as well as industry solutions for efficiency and automation.

Heuveldop said that 5G will be the one network to support a diversity of use cases.

“I am particularly excited to see the industry’s major steps to progress network evolution, including the approval of the Non-Standalone 5G New Radio that will enable early 5G deployments.

“According to our forecast, we anticipate that this will lead to more than half a billion 5G subscriptions and a population coverage [of] 15pc by 2022.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years