Sweden’s Ericsson has almost doubled its global forecast for 5G mobile subscriptions to 190 million by the end of this year, due to faster than expected uptake in China.
The telecoms equipment maker, which had previously forecast 100 million subscriptions by the end of 2020, said it had made small downward adjustments for other parts of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“For example, several spectrum auctions in Europe have been delayed, with a slower uptake of 5G subscriptions in the near term expected as a result,” it said in its biannual Mobility Report.
Ericsson nudged down its 5G subscriptions forecast for 2020 and 2021 in North America, but maintained 2025 forecasts for both Europe and North America.
It also confirmed it had raised its forecast for global 5G subscriptions to 2.8 billion by 2025, or around 30% of all mobile subscriptions, from 2.6 billion previously.
“Despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, service providers continued to switch on 5G, and more than 75 of them have now announced commercial 5G service launches,” Ericsson said.
The mobile network industry has faced waning demand for 4G and older network equipment, but 5G spending in North America has helped to fuel a return to growth.
Ericsson, which competes with China’s Huawei and Finland’s Nokia, said 4G would remain the dominant mobile access technology by subscriptions during 2020-2025, with 5.1 billion in 2022 and 4.4 billion expected by the end of 2025.
But in 2025, 5G networks will carry nearly half of the world’s mobile data traffic, it forecast.
The new generation of mobile phone technology will bring faster data speeds and support a greater variety of connected devices.