Ericsson: 5G Mobile Subs to Hit 150 Million by 2021

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN—Ericsson is forcasting 150 million 5G mobile subscriptions by 2021 in its latest Mobility Report. South Korea, Japan, China and the United States are predicted to lead with initial and fastest 5G uptake.

The report indicates a significant increase in mobile video consumption, which is expected to drive around six times higher traffic volumes per smartphone in North America and Europe between 2015 and 2021. North America data traffic per active smartphone is projected to grow from 3.8 to 22 GB per month by 2021; in Western Europe, the increase is from 2 to 18 GB per month.

Ericsson says that there are 20 new mobile broadband subscriptions activated every second. As of now, there are the same amount of mobile subscriptions as there are people on the planet. By next year, Ericsson says smartphone subscriptions will hit the 4 billion mark.

Rima Qureshi, senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Ericsson, says 5G will enable new types of Internet-based services.

“For example, Ericsson has built a prototype testbed for applying 5G networking functions and data analytics to public transport, which can save resources, reduce congestion, and lower environmental impact. ICT transformation will become even more common across industries as 5G moves from vision to reality in the coming years.”

Other highlights from the latest Ericsson Mobility Report include:

  • Video dominates data traffic: Global mobile data traffic is forecast to grow 10x by 2021, and video is forecast to account for 70 percent of total mobile traffic in the same year. In many networks today, YouTube accounts for up to 70 percent of all video traffic, while Netflix's share of video traffic can reach as high as 20 percent in markets where it is available.
  • Mainland China overtakes the United States as world's largest LTE market: By the end of 2015, Mainland China will have 350 million LTE subscriptions - nearly 35 percent of the world's total LTE subscriptions. The market is predicted to have 1.2 billion LTE subscriptions by 2021.
  • Africa becomes an increasingly connected continent: Five years ago (2010) there were 500 million mobile subscriptions across Africa; by the end of 2015 this number will double to 1 billion. Increased connectivity improves the prospect of financial inclusion for the 70 percent unbanked through mobile money services starting to take form across Africa.
  • Information and communications technology powers the low-carbon economy:ICT will enable savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions across all other industrial sectors. The total emission reduction could be up to 10 gigatonnes of CO2e, representing about 15 percent of global GHG emissions in 2030—more than the current carbon footprint of the United States and European Union combined.