17 predictions about 5G networks and devices

Not surprisingly, the new Ericsson Mobility Report is bullish on the potential of 5G technology. Here’s a quick look at the most important numbers.

17 predictions about 5G networks and devices
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“As market after market switches on 5G, we are at a truly momentous point in time. No previous generation of mobile technology has had the potential to drive economic growth to the extent that 5G promises. It goes beyond connecting people to fully realizing the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”—The opening paragraph of the June 2019 Ericsson Mobility Report

Almost every significant technology advancement now goes through what Gartner calls the “hype cycle.” These days, Everyone expects new technologies to be met with gushing optimism and dreamy visions of how it’s going to change the world in the blink of an eye. After a while, we all come to expect the vendors and the press to go overboard with excitement, at least until reality and disappointment set in when things don’t pan out exactly as expected.

Even with all that in mind, though, Ericsson’s whole-hearted embrace of 5G in its Internet Mobility Report is impressive. The optimism is backed up by lots of numbers, but they can be hard to tease out of the 36-document. So, let’s recap some of the most important top-line predictions (with my comments at the end).

Worldwide 5G growth projections

  1. “More than 10 million 5G subscriptions are projected worldwide by the end of 2019.”
  2. “[We] now expect there to be 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2024. This will account for over 20 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time. The peak of LTE subscriptions is projected for 2022, at around 5.3 billion subscriptions, with the number declining slowly thereafter.”
  3. “In 2024, 5G networks will carry 35 percent of mobile data traffic globally.”
  4. “5G can cover up to 65 percent of the world’s population in 2024.”
  5. ”NB-IoT and Cat-M technologies will account for close to 45 percent of cellular IoT connections in 2024.”
  6. “By the end of 2024, nearly 35 percent of cellular IoT connections will be Broadband IoT, with 4G connecting the majority.” But 5G connections will support more advanced use cases.
  7. “Despite challenging 5G timelines, device suppliers are expected to be ready with different band and architecture support in a range of devices during 2019.”
  8. “Spectrum sharing … chipsets are currently in development and are anticipated to be in 5G commercial devices in late 2019."
  9. VoLTE is the foundation for enabling voice and communication services on 5G devices. Subscriptions are expected to reach 2.1 billion by the end of 2019. … The number of VoLTE subscriptions is projected to reach 5.9 billion by the end of 2024, accounting for more than 85 percent of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.”

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