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Global 5G uptake won’t start to really ramp until 2021 – Ericsson

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report is forecasting 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions by 2025, but thinks we’re still a year or two from it going mass market.

The forecast by tech shows initial uptake reaching just 13 million by the end of this year, driven largely by China and Korea. But as you can see from the forecast table below, while it will obviously accelerate next year, to 160 million, the real inflection point in terms of growth isn’t expected until 2021. By 2025, the 2.6 billion number will account for 29% of all mobile subscriptions.

“It is encouraging to see that 5G now has broad support from almost all device makers,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Networks at Ericsson. “In 2020, 5G-compatible devices will enter the volume market, which will scale up 5G adoption. The question is no longer if, but how quickly we can convert use cases into relevant applications for consumers and enterprises. With 4G remaining a strong connectivity enabler in many parts of the world, modernizing networks is also key to this technological change we’re going through.”

By 2025 Ericsson reckons the region that will be most committed to 5G isn’t North East Asia, but North America. Three quarters of Americans and Canadians are expected to have switched by then, compared to around half of those from North East Asia and Western Europe. The rest of the world is expected to drag its feet a lot more.

As Jejdling said, next year is expected to see a significant proliferation of 5G devices, with pretty much all globally acknowledged 5G frequency bands being supported by the full monty of device types. Elsewhere Ericsson expects cellular IoT connections to grow at 25% per year, to hit five billion by 2025. Mobile data traffic will obviously continue to ramp, but there’s nothing surprising about that.

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