Global 5G improvements coming for consumers

07 February 2024
Source: Ericsson

Strong growth in 5G subscriptions is forecast to continue in 2024 along with improvements globally for speeds and network operations, however, universal speeds won’t be a thing and will vary widely depending on the region.

The analysis comes from Ericsson’s latest mobility report, which suggests that of the 1.6 billion global 5G subscriptions in 2023, 600 million new subscriptions were added for a year-over-year growth rate of 63%. By 2029, more than 5 billion people will be connected to a 5G network, or 85% of the global population, Ericsson said.

Adoption will continue due to other factors such as:

  • Smartphone recovery in 2024
  • Over 1,000 5G smartphones models
  • Extended reality (XR) expansions
  • Satellite cellular technology begins to scale
  • 5G standalone (SA) becomes well established

5G SA benefits

The reason 5G SA is a huge part of this expansion is due to new capabilities coming online like 5G native voice and new services like network slicing and user equipment route selection policy (URSP).

Additionally, SA maturity will enable private networks and New Radio reduced capability (RedCap) will become ready for commercialization. RedCap will allow for new low-cost, low-power devices to become 5G-enabled for applications like the internet of things and sensors.

Speeds may vary

While the benefits of 5G — higher speeds, lower latency and higher bandwidth — will expand in 2024, speeds by region are likely to be very different.

Bulgaria tops Europe with 300 megabits per second followed by countries in the Nordic region at just below 300 megabits per second. This is followed by areas in Croatia and Portugal pushing about 250 Mbps downloads.

In each country, speeds also vary by network operator. Some will offer the fastest while others are lagging but may have a larger overall network. Ericsson said telecoms may be able to add new services such as those applications that require low latency like livestreaming or high-frequency trading to compete against those with either a larger market share or faster speed.

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