5G adoption set to be much faster than 4G

(Image credit: Ericsson)

New forecasts suggest there will be 2.6 billion 5G mobile subscriptions around the world by 2025, with next-generation networks covering 65 per cent of the world’s population.

The 2019 edition of the annual Ericsson Mobility Report believes the number of total subscriptions will increase from 8 billion to 8.9 billion over the next six years, by which point more than a quarter will be 5G.

In the more immediate-term, Ericsson says there will be 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2019. This is up from its previous estimate due to the early launch of 5G services in China.

5G adoption

“It is encouraging to see that 5G now has broad support from almost all device makers. In 2020, 5G-compatible devices will enter the volume market, which will scale up 5G adoption,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Networks at Ericsson.

“The question is no longer if, but how quickly we can convert use cases into relevant applications for consumers and enterprises. With 4G remaining a strong connectivity enabler in many parts of the world, modernizing networks is also key to this technological change we’re going through.”

The increased availability of 5G, along with the emergence of new data-intensive applications and the rising popularity of online video, will see average data consumption rise from 7.2GB per month per user to 24GB.

It is thought that 5G adoption will be faster than that of 5G but naturally there are some regional variations. By 2025, it is precited that 74 per cent of mobile connections will be 5G, as will 56 per cent of those in North East Asia. 

In Western Europe, where operators have made significant investments in 4G infrastructure and the capacity crunch isn’t as severe, the figure is 55 per cent. Meanwhile in Eastern and Central Europe, 4G has only just become the dominant mobile technology. Adoption rates in that region will be around 25 per cent.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.