MWC22: 5G connections expected to reach 1 billion this year
5G is going mainstream in many markets and is making considerable progress elsewhere, according the GSMA’s 2022 Global Mobile Economy Report, which launched this week on the opening day of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
China, South Korea, and the US are leading the charge with 5G, and the total number of 5G connections globally is forecast to reach 1 billion this year and 2 billion by 2025, the report finds.
By the end of 2025, the report forecasts that 5G will account for around a quarter of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people worldwide will live within reach of a 5G network.
According to the GSMA, momentum for 5G has increased thanks to a number of factors, including the economic recovery from the pandemic, rising handset sales, network coverage expansions, and overall marketing efforts.
The report found that three in five users who have upgraded or intend to upgrade to 5G find 5G-based home broadband an appealing proposition, alongside enhanced video calling, high-definition videos, remote health services and augmented in-store shopping experiences.
Additionally, the report found that 5G consumers are increasingly interested in adding non-connectivity offerings to their mobile subscriptions in comparison to 4G users. This includes video streaming, cloud storage, digital security, wearable, and smart home applications.
As 5G adoption accelerates in leading markets the report observes that 4G has started to decline. Globally, 4G adoption will account for 55% of total connections by 2025, down from a peak of 58% in 2021.
However, it is not the end for 4G as it still has room to grow in most developing markets. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa sees 4G adoption below a fifth of total connections and operators are making an effort to migrate existing 2G and 3G customers over to 4G networks.
The report also stressed importance of mobile technology’s role in boosting progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ahead of the UN’s deadline in 2030.
Opening MWC22 Barcelona with a keynote address, Mats Granryd, director general of GSMA, urged industries to engage in “underused” smart tech which utilise mobile connectivity – such as smart meters in buildings; telematics to create more efficient transport routes as well as storage and inventory management tools in factories and warehouses.
“These technologies already exist today but they are still very underused by energy intensive industries such as energy, transport, construction and manufacturing,” Granryd told MWC delegates.
“If those four industries started to use these technologies it would enable global savings of around 11 Gigatonnes of carbon emissions by 2030,” he claimed.
“That’s equivalent of roughly 40% of the total required reduction. It’ s the same as decommissioning around 2,700 coal-fired powerplants – that’s a huge opportunity and a lot of CO2s saved. And the mobile industry is prepared and ready to engage with other sectors to enable these savings.”
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