Global 5G subscriptions will reach
550 million in 2022, predicted Ericsson on Tuesday.
In its latest Mobility Report, the
Swedish kit maker said it expects North America to lead the way, accounting
for 25% of 5G connections by 2022, with Asia-Pacific claiming a share of 10%.
Western Europe's share is expected to be 5%.
By then, 5G networks will cover
10% of the world's population, Ericsson said.
"We are already seeing a
great interest among operators in launching pre-standard 5G networks,"
said Ulf Ewaldsson, chief strategy and technology officer of Ericsson, in a
Of course, making 5G subscriber
forecasts is made more difficult by the fact that 5G has not been
This time last year, Ericsson's Mobility Report
predicted that 5G subscriptions would reach 150 million by 2021.
At the time, Ericsson defined a 5G
subscription as a device that supports what it called 'LTE Evolved' –
comprised of enhancements to access technology that use existing mobile
spectrum, and/or 'NX', new access technologies that utilise spectrum where
LTE has not previously been deployed – connected to a network based on
standards that meet the ITU's IMT-2020 requirements.
This time around, the Mobility
Report simply states that commercial 5G networks will be based on ITU
When it comes to mobile standards
that exist today, 4G is gaining on 3G, notes Ericsson. LTE subscriptions in
2016 are expected to reach 1.7 billion, compared to 2.3 billion for
WCDMA/HSPA. However, by 2022, 4G will have overtaken 3G, with connections
coming in at 4.6 billion and 2.8 billion respectively.
Meanwhile, the latest edition of
the report predicts there will be 29 billion connected devices in total by
2022, of which approximately 18 billion will be IoT devices. Smartphone
subscriptions are expected to 6.8 billion, up from 3.9 billion in 2016.