Ericsson increases 5G forecast despite uncertainty

(Image credit: Ericsson)

Ericsson has increased its 5G forecast despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Coronavirus outbreak, predicting there will be 2.8 billion connections by 2025 – 200 million more than previously estimated.

Last month, the Swedish telecoms giant told investors the impact of Covid-19 had thus far been minimal.

Its 5G kit is currently used in 29 commercial networks around the world, boosted by Huawei’s exclusion from the US, a major contract win in China, and regulatory approval for the T-Mobile-Sprint merger.

Ericsson 5G forecast

However the company also warned that government lockdowns and travel restrictions could impact supply and service delivery. Ericsson is also resigned to the fact that a general economic slowdown could result in a pause in investments by operators and that spectrum auctions could be delayed.

But a silver lining could be increased demand in China, where lockdown measures have been eased and where the government is making 5G leadership and adoption a key part of national policy. It is this optimism that has resulted in the increased forecasts.

Speaking at a virtual event, Ericsson CEO Börje Ekholm said the company’s priority was keeping its staff safe and supporting operator partners to keep their customers connected and cope with growth in data traffic. Ericsson has 85,000 staff routinely working from home but some jobs still require physical access to network infrastructure.  

“Our absolute highest priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, our customers and our partners,” he said. “We are working hard to do what we can to contribute to the efforts to contain and slow down the pandemic.

“Even when a country goes into lockdown, our engineers are still active in order to keep the networks up and running.”

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.