The June 2023 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows that despite the geopolitical challenges and macroeconomic slowdown in some markets, communications service providers worldwide are continuing to invest in 5G. Following the launch of 5G services in October 2022, the major 5G Indian market is witnessing huge network deployments under its Digital India initiative. 5G subscriptions in India reached about 10 million by end of 2022 and are estimated to account for about 57 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the country by the end of 2028, making it the fastest growing 5G region globally.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also reveals that the uptake of 5G subscriptions in North America has been stronger than expected in previous forecasts. At the end of 2022, the region had the highest 5G global subscription penetration at 41 per cent.

5G subscriptions are rising in every region worldwide and forecast to reach 1.5 billion by the end of 2023. Global mobile network data traffic continues to grow with the monthly global average usage per smartphone expected to exceed 20 GB by the end of 2023.

The report also shows continued revenue growth in leading 5G markets. Commenting on the report, Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and head of networks, Ericsson, said, “The global adoption of 5G technology has surpassed one billion subscriptions, bringing positive revenue growth for communications service providers in leading 5G markets. We see a strong link between the increase in 5G subscriptions and service revenue. Over the past two years, the introduction of 5G services in the top twenty markets has resulted in a seven percent revenue boost. This trend shows the growing value of 5G, benefiting users and service providers alike.”

Worldwide, around 240 communications service providers (CSPs) have launched commercial 5G services and about 35 have deployed or launched 5G standalone (SA). The most common 5G services launched by service providers for consumers are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), fixed wireless access (FWA), gaming and some AR/VR-based services, such as training and education.

The report also reveals that 5G continues to drive innovation in mobile service packaging. Among CSPs, it is increasingly common to offer bundles with various popular entertainment services included such as television, music streaming or cloud gaming platforms. About 58 percent of 5G service providers currently do this in various forms.

More than 100 CSPs, comprising about 40 per cent of FWA service providers, currently offer FWA over 5G.

FWA is growing solidly in terms of:

  • Number of mobile service providers offering FWA
  • Proportion of those offering FWA over 5G
  • Proportion of CSPs with speed-based tariff structures
  • Amount of traffic served, as both number of connections and traffic volume per connection increase.

By 2028 5G is estimated to account for almost 80 per cent of all FWA connections.

5G subscriptions are expected to reach 700 million and are estimated to account for 57 per cent of mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2028. Average data traffic per smartphone is projected to grow from 26 GB per month in 2022 to around 62 GB per month in 2028 – a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16 per cent. Total mobile data traffic is estimated to grow from 18 EB per month in 2022 to 58 EB per month in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 22 per cent.

4G continues to be the dominant subscription type driving connectivity and fueling data growth in the region. 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline from 820 million in 2022 to 500 million by 2028. Total mobile subscriptions in the region are estimated to grow to 1.2 billion in 2028.

Meanwhile, Nitin Bansal, head of Ericsson India and head of network solutions for southeast Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson said, ”Mobile networks continue to play a pivotal role in driving social and economic inclusion in the country.The strong digital infrastructure being established in India will help the country bridge the digital divide, create jobs, drive entrepreneurship and boost the economy.”

The number of smartphone subscriptions is projected to grow at a CAGR of 5 per cent, reaching over 1.14 billion by 2028 in India from 840 million at the end of 2022. Smartphone subscriptions in India as a percentage of total mobile subscriptions are expected to grow from 76 per cent in 2022 to 93 per cent in 2028.