Ericsson hikes 5G forecast on China demand

Ericsson almost doubled its prediction for the number of global 5G subscriptions expected to be in play by the end of this year to 190 million, as rapid uptake in China more than offset figures from North America and Europe hampered by Covid-19 (coronavirus) containment measures.

As trailed by the company last month, the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report detailed “slightly decreased” 5G subscription forecasts in some areas due to factors including delayed spectrum auctions, however it noted these countries would catch-up and still meet 2025 projections.

By the end of 2025, Ericsson expects 2.8 billion 5G subscribers globally, up from 2.6 billion in the previous edition of its report. In its November 2019 update, Ericsson forecast 100 million 5G connections by the end of this year.

The vendor now anticipates 5G will account for 30 per cent of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2025 and 45 per cent of all mobile data traffic. LTE will remain dominant beyond 2025, peaking during 2022 with 5.1 billion subscriptions. This figure is expected to fall to 4.4 billion by end-2025 due to 5G migration.

Fixed role
Ericsson also pointed to expected increases in adoption of fixed wireless access (FWA), a frequently cited use case for 5G.

By the end of its forecast period, the vendor expects FWA to make-up 25 per cent of mobile network data traffic globally, compared with 15 per cent at the end of 2019. The latest report is its first to break-out specific FWA predictions.

At the end of 2018 there were 51 million FWA subscriptions across the globe, a number expected to jump to almost 160 million by end-2025. This covers both 5G and previous generations of mobile technologies.

Announcing the latest 5G forecasts, report publisher and Ericsson’s head of Business Area Networks Fredrik Jejdling said: “The success of 5G cannot be measured in subscriptions alone. The value 5G brings will be determined by the success of new use cases and applications for consumers and businesses.”

“5G was made for innovation and, as the value of the digital infrastructure has been further evidenced during these recent times, 5G investments can play a significant role in restarting economies,” he added.