Ericsson sees 5G subscriptions hitting 1 billion mark in 2023

There is set to be more than one billion 5G subscriptions in use by 2023, according to a report by Ericsson, with more than 20% of the global population set to be covered within the next six years. The first commercial networks based on Standalone 5G NR are expected to go live in 2019, with significant network deployments from 2020. These deployments are foreseen in markets such as US, South Korea, Japan and China.

Ericsson, which in its semi-annual Mobility Report made its first forecast for 2023, sees a total of 9.1 billion mobile subscriptions at the end of 2023 and expects 4G to become the dominant mobile technology by the end of 2017. VoLTE subscriptions are projected to reach 5.5bn by the end of 2023, accounting for more than 80pc of the combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

The high average usage in India – estimated to reach 3.9GB per month per smartphone at the end of 2017 – is mainly due to an introductory LTE offer by Reliance Jio during the latter half of 2016, which included free voice and data traffic.

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This is the equivalent of 5.5m years of HD video streaming.

The number of internet of things (IoT) devices in use will also grow significantly, with a CAGR of 19% up to 2023, when more than 20 billion connected IoT devices are estimated to be in operation.

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has been launched in more than 125 networks in over 60 countries across all regions.

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The increased streaming of high-resolution videos and immersive video formats such as 360-degree video will continue to increase data traffic volumes, according to the report.

There are more than 1,300 VoLTE-enabled device models. Much of this use will be accounted for by streaming video. The report also estimates that monthly data usage per smartphone in India to increase 5 times, from 3.9 GB now, to 18 GB per month. It is followed by Western Europe, at 4GB per month. We also explore mobile data plan trends and why operators need to provide a range of offerings, as well as two different aspects of 5G: enhancing the event experience through digitalized services and consumer expectations for the technology.

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