Mobile Devices

5G subscribers set to rise to 1.1 billion by 2023

25 July 2019
Subscriptions for 5G are expected to soar to 1.1 billion by 2023. Source: IHS Markit

New research from IHS Markit forecasts that 5G subscriptions in Asia and North America are set to exceed 1 billion units by 2023, the fifth year of deployment. This would be about triple the total for 4G during the same time period.

In 2019, 5G subscribers in Asia Pacific and North America will be negligible but will ramp up to 1.1 billion users by 2023. In contrast, 4G’s subscriber base in the two regions was just 417 million units in 2014, five years after initial deployment, IHS Markit said.

“During 4G’s first year of launch, there were only three smartphones available to consumers that supported the standard,” said Elias Aravantinos, principal analyst at IHS Markit. “On the other hand, 5G boasts at least 20 smartphone designs available for release to the market this year. This demonstrates the high degree of market readiness for 5G, and its capability to attain high volumes more quickly than 4G.”

While North America will lead the world in terms of 5G installed base, the Asia-Pacific region will rise and surpass it in 2021. By 2023, Asia Pacific will have a 5G installed base of 785 million, which will dwarf the 294 million total for North America.

Helping with the emergence of 5G worldwide is the availability of smartphones. While phone availability varies by region, consumers are excited about the future of the technology.

Additionally, 5G demand will be stimulated by new capabilities from the technology, IHS Markit said. 5G smartphones will be able to stream movies in seconds, compared to minutes as with 4G. The lower latency of the technology will substantially reduce lag and help improve streaming applications like online gaming, video calling and interactive sports experiences.

Companies are already experimenting with new applications for the technology, such as indoor radio dots for businesses, enabling 5G on smart lighting poles, exploring how the technology can be used to improve manufacturing, combining next-generation television with 5G connections and improving emergency response for first responders.

For more information about 5G market research from IHS Markit, see the company’s 5G First Look.

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