Even though 5G build outs slowed in the last 12 months, global 5G subscription growth has been strong, with North America expected to have the highest 5G subscription penetration at 61 percent by the end of 2023, according to the November 2023 edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report. Almost one-in-five of all smartphones will use 5G by the end of 2023, according to the report, which estimates 610 million new 5G subscriptions will be added – a year over year increase of 63 percent.
The total number of 1.6 billion global 5G subscriptions surpasses the predicted number by about 100 million. As a result, data traffic will triple in six years, according to the report. Enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, gaming and AR/VR/-based services are the early drivers of 5G, according to the report.
In the next six years, global 5G subs are forecast to increase by more than 330 percent – from 1.6 billion to 5.3 billion, with coverage of the population growing from 45 percent to 85 percent. North America and the Gulf Cooperation Council (Middle Eastern countries) are expected to have the highest regional 5G penetration rates by the end of 2029 at 92 percent, followed by Western Europe with 85 percent penetration.
By J. Sharpe Smith, Inside Towers Technology Editor