New research from Ericsson expects 5G subscriptions on smartphones to reach one billion by the end of 2022, with providers driving adoption despite geopolitical and economic uncertainty.
By 2028, the number of 5G subscriptions will pass five billion, according to Ericsson’s report (opens in new tab), which would account for over half (55%) of all mobile subscriptions.
Globally, 5G subscriptions reportedly grew by 110 million during the third quarter of 2022 to reach around 870 million.
Where is 5G growth ?
Emerging economies are set to be some of the biggest drivers of growth. China had the most net additions to the 5G user base in Q3 2022 with 15 million, followed by Nigeria with five million, then Indonesia with four million.
5G has already been adopted by many countries around the world, but in front-runner markets the proportion of users is much greater – in the US, for instance, it has already reached 80% of the nation.
In 2028, it is projected that North America will have the highest 5G penetration at 91% of the population, followed by Western Europe at 88%.
How does this compare to 4G?
5G adoption is vastly outpacing what 4G managed in the same amount of time. It took seven years for 4G to hit one billion subscribers in 2016, after launching in 2009.
Ericsson attributed this performance to the fast rollout of devices from several vendors, which may have led to prices falling faster than in the case of 4G, as well as China’s “large, early 5G deployments”.
Demand for 4G is still very much alive and well, however. Subscriptions for it continue to increase as per the report, growing by 41 million during Q3 2022 to around five billion.
However, 4G subscriptions are projected to peak at 5.2 billion by the end of 2022, before declining to around 3.6 billion by the end of 2028, “as subscribers migrate to 5G”.
Demand for 3G, which launched way back in 2001, would appear to be on its last legs – during the last quarter alone, 3G subscriptions declined by 41 million.