Ericsson says global 5G subscriptions are edging towards one billion

(Image credit: EE)

Ericsson says there are now more than 700 million active 5G subscriptions globally, with 70 million added in the past three months alone.

In an update to its annual Ericsson Mobility Report, the company said the number of subscriptions across all mobile technologies now stood at 8.3 billion, with 6.1 billion unique subscribers.

Although this confirms 5G is still some way from becoming the dominant mobile technology, it does offer an indication of the pace of global adoption.

5G subscriptions 

Ericsson says 5G is scaling faster than any previous generation of mobile technology, with a quarter of the world’s population now having access. By 2027, this will have increased to three quarters.

In the original report, Ericsson predicted there would be one billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2022.  

To date, 218 operators have now launched commercial 5G services, of which 24 have launched 5G standalone (5G SA) networks. 

While all commercial 5G networks make use of new radio technologies, only 5G SA infrastructure uses a cloud-based core that delivers the performance and low latency required for some of the most revolutionary applications.

Overall mobile data traffic his risen by 39% year on year, with the monthly amount now reaching 100 exabytes (EB).

Ericsson predicts that within five years, 5G will account for 90% of all mobile subscriptions in North America, 82% in Western Europe, and 74% in Northeast Asia.

The company’s  forecast is broadly in line with a more optimistic recent analysis from CCS Insight which claimed there would be 1.2 billion subscriptions by the end of 2022 with 4.5 billion by 2026.

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.