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Ericsson estimates that almost one-in-five of all global mobile subscriptions will be 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023, as the growth proves resilient despite continued economic challenges and geopolitical unrest in some markets.

5G Subscription Increase

As featured in the November 2023 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, there will be 610 million new 5G subscriptions for 2023 – a 63% increase since 2022 – bringing the global total to 1.6 billion. Moreover, the recent report confirms enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, gaming and AR/VR/-based services as the most common early consumer use cases for 5G.

Regionally, the uptake of 5G subscriptions in North America continues to gain in strength. By the end of 2023, the region is expected to have the highest 5G subscription penetration globally at 61%. 5G subscription growth has also been strong in India throughout 2023 (11%).

In the six years between the end of 2023 and 2029, global 5G subscriptions are forecasted to increase by more than 330% - from 1.6 billion to 5.3 billion. 5G coverage is anticipated to be available to more than 45% of the global population by the end of 2023 and 85% by the end of 2029.

North America and the Gulf Cooperation Council are expected to have the highest regional 5G penetration rates by the end of 2029 at 92%. Western Europe is forecasted to follow at 85% penetration.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, said, “With more than 600 million 5G subscriptions added globally this year, and rising in every region, it is evident that the demand for high performance connectivity is strong. The roll-out of 5G continues and we see an increasing number of 5G standalone networks being deployed, bringing opportunities to support new and more demanding applications for both consumers and enterprises.”

Mobile Data Traffic Increase

On the other hand, the total mobile data traffic is estimated to grow threefold between the end of 2023 and end of 2029. This is attributed to factors such as improved device capabilities, an increase in data intensive content and continued improvements in the performance of deployed networks.

Peter Jonsson, Executive Editor, Ericsson Mobility Report, Ericsson, said, “As most traffic is generated indoors, where people typically spend most of their time, there is a growing need to extend 5G mid-band coverage both indoors and outdoors to ensure a comprehensive 5G experience in all locations.“

5G mid-band combines high capacity with good coverage, making it an ideal choice for delivering the full 5G experience. Global 5G mid-band population coverage is currently more than 40%, an increase from 30% in 2022. The increase is mainly driven by large mid-band deployments in India, but also several mid-band deployments in Europe.

Ericsson's optimistic projection highlights the remarkable resilience of 5G technology, demonstrating its robust growth amid ongoing economic challenges and geopolitical uncertainties. With nearly one-in-five global mobile subscriptions anticipated to be 5G by the end of 2023, the trajectory of this transformative technology remains steadfast and promising on a global scale.

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