Home5G & Beyond5G will be the dominant mobile access technology by subscription in 2028

    5G will be the dominant mobile access technology by subscription in 2028


    The Ericsson Mobility Report also predicts that 5G subs will top 5.3 billion worldwide by the end of 2029; global mobile data traffic will triple in six years

    The latest Ericsson Mobility Report covers up to the end of 2029. It estimates almost 20% of all global mobile subscriptions will be 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023. It seems growth is resilient despite continued economic challenges and geopolitical unrest in some markets.

    The report also estimates that there will be 610 million new 5G subscriptions for the calendar year 2023 – a 63% increase over 2022 – bringing the global total to 1.6 billion. This is about 100 million more than previously predicted. The report predicts that 5G will become the dominant mobile access technology globally in 2028, as shown below.

    Like previous Mobility reports, apparently enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, gaming and AR/VR/-based services remain the most common initial use cases for consumers using 5G. 5G is expected to account for 25% of mobile data traffic in 2023, excluding Fixed Wireless Access.

    Regional differences

    The uptake of 5G subscriptions in North America continues to be strong, and by the end of this year is expected to have the highest 5G subscription penetration in the world at 61%. In North-East Asia, penetration is anticipated to be 41% by the year’s end, followed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries* at 34% and Western Europe at 25%.

    The growth in 5G subscriptions exceeded many expectations in India throughout 2023, so that at the end of this year, 14 months after the service was launched commercially, 5G penetration is expected to have topped 11%. 

    How this is expected to change by the end of 2029 is shown in the graph below from the report.

    Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says, “With more than 600 million 5G subscriptions added globally this year, and rising in every region, it is evident that the demand for high performance connectivity is strong.

    “The roll-out out of 5G continues and we see an increasing number of 5G standalone networks being deployed, bringing opportunities to support new and more demanding applications for both consumers and enterprises.”

    Data rises

    The global average data consumption per smartphone keeps growing. Total mobile data traffic is estimated to grow threefold between the end of 2023 and end of 2029 – attributed to factors such as improved device capabilities, an increase in data intensive content and continued improvements in the performance of deployed networks. 

    However, the early growth rate for mobile data traffic is expected to slow down until 2029 (it grew at 33% between Q3 2022 and Q3 2023), but the incrementally added traffic is not declining.

    Globally, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone is expected to reach 56GB, rising
    from 21GB at the end of 2023.

    * United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sultanate of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.