Ericsson stresses sustainability needs as 5G soars

Ericsson forecast 5G will represent almost half of all global mobile subscriptions by the end of 2027 as coverage and smartphone penetration expand, but stressed a need for sustainable network deployments to reduce energy consumption in the coming years.

In the most recent edition of its twice-yearly Mobility Report, Ericsson predicted 5G to be the dominant mobile access technology by end-2027, with global subscriptions reaching 4.4 billion and population coverage of 75 per cent.

Ericsson estimated mobile data traffic has grown almost 300-fold in the past ten years and predicted it to reach 288 exabytes in 2027.

While the company said efficiency gains from new mobile generations and innovative operational approaches are critical for managing network energy consumption, it also highlighted a need for “an approach that breaks the upward trajectory of global network energy consumption” by modernising networks and switching to renewable energy sources.

Based on Ericsson’s latest forecasts, the need to account for sustainability looks set to become increasingly important.

It tipped 5G to become the most-quickly deployed mobile generation to date, upping a 2021 subscriber forecast from 580 million to 660 million after “stronger than expected” demand in China and North America, partially credited to decreases in the cost of compatible mobile devices.