By Emma Okonji
With barely few weeks to the end of the year, the latest Ericsson Mobility Report has predicted that over one billion people globally would have access to fifth generation network (5G) coverage by the end of 2020.
Although some countries of the world, including Nigeria, are still considering the rollout of 5G, most countries of the world had since rolled out 5G network, despite the perceived health risk associated with 5G network rollout.
Considering the number of countries that have rolled out 5G network, the Ericsson Mobility Report, predicted that over one billion people would have 5G network coverage by the end of the year.
According to the report, the pace of introducing new 5G functionality had increased in 2020 in both the network and device domains, despite uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report forecasted 220 million global 5G subscriptions forecast by end of 2020, with China accounting for 175 million, representing almost 80 per cent.
Fixed wireless access (FWA) is now offered by nearly two thirds of service providers globally. FWA connections are forecast to grow more than threefold, reaching more than 180 million by the end of 2026 and accounting for a quarter of all mobile network data traffic.
3.5 billion 5G subscriptions forecast by the end of 2026 – estimated to account for more than 50 per cent of mobile data traffic at that time, the report said.
Ericsson projected that four out of every ten mobile subscriptions in 2026 would be 5G.
The report added that current 5G uptake in subscriptions and population coverage confirmed the technology as deploying the fastest of any generation of mobile connectivity.
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 fast uptake in China, reaching 11 per cent of its mobile subscription base. 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 around four per cent of its mobile subscriptions being 5G. Commercialisation is now moving at a rapid pace and by 2026, Ericsson forecasts that 80 per cent of North American mobile subscriptions will be 5G, the highest level of any region in the world.
Analysing the report, the Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, Fredrik Jejdling, said: “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, which is also clearly visible in this latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
“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.”