Ericsson Forecast: 1 Billion Global 5G Subscriptions in 2023

Global 5G subscriptions will reach 1 billion by the end of 2023, with 5G covering more than 20% of the global population, Ericsson has predicted.

Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report predicts that the first 5G new radio deployments will go live in 2019, with major deployments from 2020. Early 5G deployments are expects in markets including South Korea, Japan, China and the US.

LTE will meanwhile become the dominant mobile access technology by the end of this year. But after reaching a peak in 2021, subscriptions are expected to drop off slightly as they are supplanted by 5G.

Global LTE subscribers are tipped to reach an estimated 5.5 billion subscriptions by the end of 2023, with a global LTE population coverage of 85%.

VoLTE subscriptions are also expected to reach 5.5 billion by end-2023, accounting for more than 80% of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

The report also projects that global mobile data traffic will pass 100 exabytes per month in 2023, the equivalent of 5.5 million years of HD video streaming.


  • 5G will cover more than 20 percent of the global population six years from now, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report
  • Mobile data traffic continues to grow, primarily fueled by increased viewing of video content
  • LTE will be the dominant access technology by end of this year, driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks

“The latest report highlights trends in mobile subscription and data traffic growth, as well as the industry’s effort to tackle the increasing demands on mobile networks globally,” Ericsson chief strategy officer and head of technology and emerging business Niklas Heuveldop said.

“In addition, the report examines the emergence of new use cases as network capabilities evolve – smartwatches, IoT alarms, and augmented reality-assisted maintenance and repair, to name a few. As we prepare for 5G, these trends will continue to set the agenda for the mobile industry going forward.”


2 thoughts on “Ericsson Forecast: 1 Billion Global 5G Subscriptions in 2023

  1. Will 5G really be so different after all?
    5G Deployment Trends 2018-2025
    “While 84% of MNOs aim to deploy a 5G vRAN, only 24% believe they will do that in the first two years.”

    There are mounting tensions in the 5G world – on the onehand vendors are emphasizing new business models, and trying to enable them, and on the other, operator spending plans, show they are more worried about sustaining the growth curve on mobile broadband.

    This mismatch will show up in planned Capex expenditure and the order in which operators expect to deploy different aspects of 5G. Early 5G will be all about consumer mobile broadband delivering high speed to the handset, and ignoring new business models.

    RAN Research has forecast 5G deployment trends to 2025 but at the simplest level, has forecast, capex spend on base stations – segmenting the spend between Macro cells and small cells, and the timing on that spend. The report anticipates a small capex peak in the near future, but then business as usual.

    Densification plans are postponed. Previous spending surveys one year ago and two years ago, showed a very different set of priorities among MNOs – and now they are putting densification on the back burner, and instead focusing on mobile broadband. Surprisingly two-thirds of 5G sites deployed in the first two years of commercial roll-out will be macro.

    MNOs are also putting back their plans for virtualization in the RAN, and because fully commercial-grade platforms and open interfaces have not matured as quickly as expected.

    This conservatism will affect equipment purchases, with a greater emphasis on macrocells, complemented by 4G small cells, and a postponed investment, for many, in 5G densification.

  2. Deloitte predicts that 5G will enter scale growth in 2019 . By the end of 2019 , it is estimated that 25 companies will launch 5G services; another 26 companies will launch 5G services in 2020 ; by the end of 2020 , 5G mobile phone sales (15-20 million ) will account for all 1% of smart phone sales , by 2021 , sales will start to rise, then 5G mobile phone sales will exceed 100 million.

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