5G likely to reach 80 million the MENA region
The November 2020 Ericsson Mobility Report estimates that by the end of this year, more than 1 billion people – 15% of the world’s population – will live in an area that has 5G coverage rolled out.
In 2026, 60% (4 out of 10) of the world’s population will have access to 5G coverage, with 5G subscriptions forecast to reach 3.5 billion.
Ericsson has raised its year-end 2020 estimate for global 5G subscriptions to 220 million, as service providers continue to build out their networks.
The increase is largely due to rapid uptake in China, reaching 11% of its mobile subscription base.
Ericsson estimates that 5G is likely to reach 80 million subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by 2025, representing 10% of total mobile subscriptions.
This is driven by a national strategic focus, intense competition between service providers, as well as increasingly affordable 5G smartphones from several vendors.
North America is expected to end the year with about 4% of its mobile subscriptions being 5G.
Commercialization is now moving at a rapid pace and by 2026, Ericsson forecasts that 80% of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G, the highest level of any region in the world.
Europe will end the year with about 1 percent 5G subscriptions in the region. During the year, some countries delayed auctions of the radio spectrum needed to support 5G deployment.
Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “This year has seen society take a big leap towards digitalization. The pandemic has highlighted the impact connectivity has on our lives and has acted as a catalyst for rapid change.
“5G is entering the next phase, when new devices and applications make the most out of the benefits it provides, while service providers continue to build out 5G.
"Mobile networks are a critical infrastructure for many aspects of everyday life and 5G will be key to future economic prosperity.”
The report also highlights why 5G success will not be limited to coverage or subscription numbers alone. Its value will also be determined by new use cases and applications, the first of which have already started to emerge.
Critical IoT, intended for time-critical applications that demand data delivery within a specified time duration, will be introduced in 5G networks.
This will enable a wide range of time-critical services for consumers, enterprises and public institutions across various sectors, with 5G public and dedicated networks.
The rate of introducing 5G New Radio (NR) functionality is increasing, with more than 150 5G device models launched commercially.
Many devices support 5G Frequency Division Duplex (FDD) and dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS). The first 5G standalone (SA) networks have been launched in Asia and North America, as well as the first devices capable of NR carrier aggregation.
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating digitalization as well as increasing the importance and need for fast and reliable home broadband connectivity, the number of service providers offering fixed wireless access (FWA) is also on the rise.