Ericsson has an optimistic view of the 5G. The Swedish giant is estimating that 5G will cover more than 20% of the global population by 2023, a rapid overhaul of the technology given that major deployments of the technology are not expected until 2020.
We’ll need all that 5G infrastructure to keep up with the demand for mobile data. Ericsson predicts that mobile data traffic is expected to grow eight-fold in the next six years, reaching 110 exabytes a month by the end of 2023. To put that into perspective, an IDC paper in 2009 estimated that all the words in every book ever written would amount to 161 exabytes of data.
Much of this increase in traffic will be due to our increased addiction to Netflix, YouTube and other video services. Ericsson estimates that this volume of traffic represents 5.5 million years of HD video streaming. What’s driving much of this increase is the increased use of 360 degree video, a technology that uses four to five times as much bandwidth as conventional video claimed Ericsson.
Mobile data growth is already increasing month on month, traffic in North America is already hitting 7GB for every smartphone, per month. This is being reflected in the move to data plans with increased volumes of data, this includes customers turning to data plans involving unlimited data.
There has also been a boom in LTE deployment. According to Ericsson’s figures, use of the technology will continue to grow and is expected to reach 5.5 billion subscriptions and cover more than 85 percent of the world’s population by the end of 2023. The newest aspect of this is the increased use of VoLTE (voice over LTE) which is being deployed in products like smartwatches. VoLTE has been launched in more than 125 networks in over 60 countries.
Niklas Heuveldop, chief strategy officer and head of technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, said: “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.”