Ericsson: Global 5G subs to reach 1.5 billion by 2024; mobile broadband subs growing 15% YoY

Global 5G subscriptions are set to reach 1.5 billion by the end of 2024, when the technology will be available to more than 40 percent of the world’s population, according to the latest of Ericsson’s semi-annual mobility report. North America and northeast Asia are expected to lead the 5G uptake, with US service providers already beginning to offer 5G services this year or in 2019, rising to 55 percent of mobile subscriptions by the end of 2024. In northeast Asia, the corresponding forecast figure is over 43 percent.  That would make 5G the fastest-growing generation of cellular technology to ever be rolled out globally.

The first commercial 5G subscriptions in Europe are expected next year, with the technology set to account for some 30 percent of mobile subscriptions in the region by end of 2024, said the report. Total mobile subscriptions are forecast to rise to 8.9 billion at the end of 2024, up from 5 billion at the end of this year.

Global mobile data traffic, meanwhile, grew 79 percent year-on-year in Q3 2018, the highest rate since 2013. Increased data-traffic-per-smartphone in northeast Asia, above all China, pushed the global figure notably higher, said Ericsson, adding that the region now has the second highest data traffic per smartphone at 7.3GB per month. North America still has the highest data traffic per smartphone, set to reach 8.6GB per month by the end of this year.

“As 5G now hits the market, its coverage build-out and uptake in subscriptions are projected to be faster than for previous generations. At the same time, cellular IoT continues to grow strongly. What we are seeing is the start of fundamental changes that will impact not just the consumer market but many industries,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson executive vice president and head of business area networks.


Ericsson states that the total number of mobile subscriptions was around 7.9 billion in Q3 2018, with 120 million new subscriptions added during the quarter.  The number of mobile subscriptions grew at 3 percent year-on-year and currently totals 7.9 billion. China had the most net additions during the quarter (+37 million), followed by India (+31 million) and Indonesia (+13 million). The high subscription growth in China continues from Q1 and Q2, and is likely the result of intense competition among communications service providers.

The number of mobile broadband subscriptions is growing at 15 percent year-on-year, increasing by 240 million in Q3 2018. The total is now 5.7 billion.

Mobile subscriptions Q3 2018 (million)



7 thoughts on “Ericsson: Global 5G subs to reach 1.5 billion by 2024; mobile broadband subs growing 15% YoY

  1. Ericsson says 5G is going to have the fastest rollout of any cellular generation in history, ultimately going mass market in 2020 thanks to chipset improvements. Thanks to both demand and supply, Ericsson believes that 5G will be available to 40 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2024 — history’s quickest global cellular build-out, beating even LTE.

    Does anyone really believe that considering the early state of IMT 2020 standards with no standards for VRAN/CloudRAN, network slicing, scheduling, etc?

  2. 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.

  3. Ericsson and Qualcomm complete 5G data call on 2.6 GHz band

    Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, have achieved a non-standalone (NSA) 5G New Radio (NR) data call on 2.6 GHz, adding a new frequency band to those successfully tested for commercial deployment.

    The bi-directional downlink and uplink data call was made at the Ericsson Lab in Kista, Sweden last December 20. It brings a new sub-6 frequency band one step closer to commercial rollout.

    This latest Interoperability Development Testing (IoDT) data call is compliant with the 3GPP Rel-15 “early drop” specification that was frozen in March 2018 but further stabilized in September, and which is the basis for commercial launches expected in the first half of 2019.

    Per Narvinger, Head of Product Area Networks, Ericsson says: “Together with Qualcomm Technologies, Ericsson continues to make strides on commercial 5G readiness by continuously performing interoperability tests on 5G NR networks on different spectrum bands. We’re offering our customers flexible deployment options as they gear up for commercial 5G services.”

    The lab demonstration used Ericsson’s commercially available 5G hardware – including its 5G NR radio AIR 6488 and RAN Compute products – together with Qualcomm Technologies’ mobile smartphone form-factor test device powered by the Snapdragon X50 5G modem and antenna modules with integrated RF transceiver, RF front-end and antenna elements.

    Durga Malladi, Senior Vice President and General Manager, 4G/5G at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., says: “Qualcomm Technologies is excited to continue working with Ericsson on 5G technology adoption and drive worldwide 5G launches this year. We are committed to helping ensure consumers get 5G devices and experiences in their hands starting in the first half of 2019.”

  4. Are consumers willing to pay (more) for 5G?

    Two recent studies highlighted consumers’ willingness to pay a premium for 5G service, but devices, and whether 5G actually provides a new kind of customer experience, could prove to be sticking points.

    Matrixx Software recently surveyed more than 4,000 mobile users in both the U.S. and the U.K. to ask about the value that users place on next-generation networks. Matrixx concluded that “respondents revealed a willingness to open their wallets if 5G delivers an enhanced connectivity experience.”

    “The feedback from consumers paints a very clear picture for operators — ‘deliver a 5G experience worth the attention, and we’ll gladly pay for the privilege of using it,’” said Dave Labuda, founder, CEO and CTO of Matrixx Software. He added that “5G presents a real opportunity to deliver a powerful value-add to the consumer,” but went on to say that “Speed to network isn’t the whole battle. The operator who wins the 5G race will be the one to deliver an entirely new experience that trumps what is available to consumers today.”

    Matrixx’s survey also found that 16% of those surveyed were not willing to pay more for 5G — either because their current service was good enough; they figured that carriers would eventually provide 5G anyway; they simply couldn’t afford to pay more; or they felt that the potential benefits didn’t justify the added cost.

    Both the Matrixx survey and a PwC survey from last fall found that consumers were, at least at some level, dissatisfied with current mobile and/or home network services and are hoping 5G can resolve their issues. The Matrixx survey found that with “nearly 70 percent of mobile users surveyed across both continents [complained]that 4G connectivity is too slow, isn’t available everywhere, and connections are not reliable in heavy traffic areas.”

    The PwC survey, conducted last fall across a statistically representative sample of 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18-64 who have access to the internet, found that despite relative overall satisfaction with home and mobile services, there is “mounting frustration with overall reliability, speed and cost” of current offerings. In particular, PwC that more consumers were “completely satisfied” with their mobile internet experience than their in-home one and that faster internet access via 5G was the primary reason that users were willing to pay more for 5G.

    PwC reported that 33% of respondents said they would pay more for 5G in the home, while 31%
    would do the same for mobile. On average, end users were willing to pay an extra $5.06 per month for 5G service to the home and an extra $4.40 per month for mobile 5G.

    Matrixx’s survey showed an overall promising picture of willingness to pay — and pay more — for 5G, if carriers can deliver a better consumer experience. The company found that of the 33% of consumers who were confident that 5G would solve their connectivity issues, 87% planned to upgrade to a 5G device and 78% were willing to pay more for such devices; 88% indicated willingness to pay more for 5G network access; and 76% said that they would switch carriers to get 5G service.

    PwC, meanwhile, found that seven out of ten respondents said that if they needed a new device to utilize 5G, they would wait until they were eligible for an upgrade rather than buying a new device as soon as it was available.


  5. WSJ: China Investigates Ericsson Over Licensing as 5G Competition Heats Up
    Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at Huawei after a former Obama-era official registered as a lobbyist for the firm

    Authorities in China are investigating Swedish telecom-equipment giant Ericsson AB while the firm’s Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co., moves to counter a U.S. campaign to limit its business, the latest signs of global jockeying to shape next-generation 5G information networks.

    Some 20 investigators from China’s State Administration for Market Regulation raided Ericsson’s Beijing office Friday, said a person familiar with the matter. Ericsson spokesman Peter Olofsson confirmed the investigation late Sunday, and said it follows complaints from unspecified sources about the company’s intellectual property-licensing practices.

    Mr. Olofsson declined to comment further other than to say Ericsson is cooperating with the investigation. The market regulation agency didn’t respond to a request for comment.

    President Trump, meanwhile, lashed out at Huawei after a former Obama-era official registered as a lobbyist for the firm in Washington. Samir Jain, a former senior director for cybersecurity policy for the Obama White House, registered as a lobbyist for Huawei on national-security issues related to a defense-policy bill that bars federal agencies from buying equipment from the Chinese company, according to a disclosure form.

    On Twitter, Mr. Trump called Mr. Jain’s registration “not good, or acceptable!” Mr. Jain is a partner at Jones Day, the law firm Huawei has hired to sue the U.S. in a constitutional challenge to the bill, saying provisions illegally target the company. Jones Day filed the lawsuit challenging the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act last month.

    A Huawei spokesman Monday said Mr. Jain “has registered as a lobbyist on behalf of Huawei as is required of any adviser who may advocate on Huawei’s behalf under U.S. disclosure rules,” calling it “a normal practice to ensure corporate transparency.” A Jones Day spokesman didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Mr. Jain didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    A bruising fight is under way between the U.S. and China over 5G, which promises superfast data transmission that will underpin autonomous driving vehicles, robotic assembly lines, remote surgery and other emerging businesses.

    Telecommunications operators are expected to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in the coming years to build out the networks. In China, the government and major carriers have said they plan trials of 5G in 2019 and aim to roll it out on a larger scale in 2020. In the U.S., companies are expected to test pilot network installations by the end of the year and the government is preparing to auction off broad swaths of airwaves.

    The U.S. has effectively barred Huawei from domestic 5G networks and is trying to persuade allies to do likewise, saying that the Chinese company is beholden to the Communist Party and thus presents an espionage and security risk in networks that will be pervasive.

    Huawei denies the allegations. The firm is the world’s largest maker of telecommunications equipment, a leader in superfast 5G technology and a top seller of smartphones globally.

  6. Ericsson’s new ConsumerLab report ‘5G Consumer Potential’ debunks industry myths surrounding the value of 5G for consumers and outlines the opportunities available for communications service providers.

    The report highlights the potential of 5G benefitting consumers, uncovering certain realities about them to bust the four common myths, that are: 5G offers consumers no short-term benefits; there are no real use cases for 5G, nor is there a price premium on 5G; smartphones will be the “silver bullet” for 5G: the magical single solution to delivering fifth-generation services; current usage patterns can be used to predict future 5G demand.

    The key findings of the study include the fact that consumers expect 5G to provide relief from network congestion in the near term – mainly in the megacities, where majority of the smartphone users have reported facing network issues in crowded areas. The respondents also anticipate more home broadband choices to be available with the launch of 5G.

    The report has dismissed the ICT industry myths that consumers are unwilling to pay premium on 5G. In fact, smartphone users are willing to pay 20% more for fifth-generation services, and half of early adopters can pay as much as 32% more.

    According to the study, one in five smartphone users’ data usage could reach over 200 GB per month on 5G device by 2025.

    In February, Ericsson and Intel began a multi-year partnership to align ongoing development efforts in software-defined infrastructure (SDI), distributed cloud, and 5G. The platform will aim to deliver ‘a new level of cloudlike agility, transparency and efficiency required for Network Functions Virtualisation (NFV), distributed cloud, and 5G’. As part of the partnership, both the companies will bring together the Ericsson SDI Manager software and Intel RSD reference software while maintaining full backward compatibility for current customers.

  7. Sweden’s Ericsson sees Brazil switching on 5G network by early 2021

    Ericsson expects Brazil to switch on its fifth-generation (5G) network by early 2021, several months after a spectrum auction set for March next year, a top executive told Reuters.

    The company is working closely with local operators and Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel to test the technology ahead of the long-awaited auction, said Eduardo Ricotta, president of Ericsson Latam South.

    He said the pace of 5G deployment in Brazil would depend on each carrier’s strategic plan, but it could take several months to switch on the ultrafast network once they win the spectrum rights, as work to avoid interference from other services is required.

    “Cleaning up the bandwidth is necessary because some of the frequencies to be allocated to 5G might have interferences with satellites,” Ricotta said. “We are still conducting tests with Anatel to determine what has to be done, but deployment is likely between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021.”

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