5G to account for 31 percent of European mobile connections by 2025


Nearly a third of European mobile connections will be on a 5G network within five years of the technology's standardisation, the GSMA has predicted.

The latest edition of the trade body’s Mobile Economy series has predicted that there will be 214 million 5G connections on the continent by 2025, 31 percent of total. By that point, around 75 percent of Europe's population will be covered by 5G networks.

LTE will continue to grow ahead of the introduction of 5G, accounting for over 60 percent of connections by 2020, up from a third at the beginning of this year.

In addition, 2017 will be the first year that 4G surpasses 3G in total connections.

LTE will help to serve the growing demand for data, which will reach 15.8 exabytes per month by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 42 percent from 2016.

Shifts to 4G from older generations will offset a slowdown in subscriber growth as the mobile market becomes saturated, with total subscriptions set to grow from 84 percent of the population now to 86 percent in 2020.

Revenues from mobile technologies will grow from €143 billion at the end of 2016 to €146 billion by the end of 2020.

[Read more: Telcos speeding up 5G deployment plans, Ericsson claims]

Commenting on the report, Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, called on policymakers to “move quickly and boldly” to capitalise on 5G’s potential.

He said: “A forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure is essential to maintaining a vibrant European mobile ecosystem and delivering the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Gigabit Society’.”

“Europe needs a holistic policy and regulatory framework that reinforces its position as a preferred location for investment and innovation.”

Granyrd also said government and industry should assess the success of the Digital Single Market, the EU’s framework for creating free movement of digital services across borders within Europe.

He added: “We are calling for fresh dialogue between government and industry to assess how the Digital Single Market has performed to date, what needs to change and where regulation can promote the long-term development of Europe’s digital vision."

The GSMA slammed the EU for its approach to 5G in June, co-signing an open letter with other trade bodies saying it was being overly “timid” in encouraging the growth of the technology. It previously called for the Union to take a “bolder” approach in May.

In an interview published yesterday (16 October) Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn told Mobile Europe that “operators, politicians and vendors” would all be needed to make Europe’s adoption of 5G successful.