Digital Innovation Digital Publishing Top Stories
4 mins read

Publishers, get ready for a 5G explosion

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Earlier this month we’d reported a worldwide surge in demand for smartphones, with 5G becoming the next battleground. The battle is now heating up, with 190 million 5G smartphones expected to ship in 2020, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Ericsson Mobility reports that 5G subscriptions will top 2.6 billion by the end of 2025.

The worldwide smartphone market is expected to grow 1.5% year over year in 2020 with shipments volumes just over 1.4 billion. IDC expects 190 million 5G smartphones to ship in 2020, accounting for 14% of total smartphones shipped, which far exceeds the first year of 4G shipments (2010) at 1.3%.

International Data Corporation (IDC)

“There is little doubt that China will quickly become the lead market in terms of 5G volume, but other important markets like the U.S., Korea, United Kingdom, and Canada are all expected to help drive 2020 volume,” said Ryan Reith, program vice president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers. “We are very confident that 5G smartphone prices will come down quickly in order for this market segment to grow.”

Globally, 5G subscriptions will reach 2.6 billion by the end of 2025, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. By that time, 5G will cover up to 65% of the world’s population and handle 45% of global mobile data traffic, according to the forecast.

Annual shipments of 5G devices are projected to reach 13 million units by the end of 2019, the report notes. “However, 2020 will be a different numbers game. 5G device volumes in 2020 are projected to reach 160 million units, with China expected to massively deploy 5G coverage.”

Telecoms in 18 countries will roll out 5G networks by the end of 2019, which means the race to secure global 5G leadership is officially underway,” according to Business Insider’s 5G Snapshot.

With speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G, and latency up to 120 times lower, 5G is poised to revolutionize the tech industry.

5G Snapshot, Business Insider Intelligence

5G goes from strength to strength as networks are built out across the world,” says Fredrik Jejdling, Executive VP and Head of Business Area Networks in Ericsson. “When looking at the development in this industry over the last few years it is truly astonishing to see the progress.”

5G now has broad support from almost all device makers, and a very strong ecosystem. 

Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson

Given its current momentum, the report states, 5G subscription uptake is expected to be significantly faster than that of LTE. The most rapid uptake is expected in North America with 74% of mobile subscriptions in the region forecast to be 5G by the end of 2025. North East Asia is expected to follow at 56%, with Europe at 55%.

Smartphone users will be consuming a global average of 24 GB per month in 2025 from 7.2 GB currently, as video usage increases and new services become available. This is expected to be driven, in part, by new consumer behavior, such as Virtual Reality (VR) streaming.

In 2025, Ericsson forecasts 5G networks will carry nearly half of the world’s mobile data traffic. Global total mobile data traffic is expected to reach around 38 exabytes per month by the end of the year, and is projected to grow by a factor of 4 to reach 160 exabytes per month in 2025.

Smartphones continue to be at the epicenter of this development as they generate most of the mobile data traffic – more than 90% today and 95% projected in 2025.

Apple reportedly alerted supply chain partners to expect over 100 million orders for the next-generation 5G iPhone expected to launch late in 2020, according to DigiTimes. Recently, Strategy Analytics indicated that Apple is expected to lead the global 5G smartphone market.

Android vendors are also expected to drive down the cost of 5G smartphones, starting with an abundance of first-quarter announcements at both CES and MWC, according to IDC.

Winning the 5G race would allow the opportunity to shape the future,” according to Business Insider’s 5G Snapshot, “and could come with more than a decade of competitive advantages.”

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

“We can look to 5G’s predecessor as a guide: US 4G leadership translated into a $100 billion increase in the nation’s GDP, sparked an 84% increase in wireless-related jobs, and $125 billion in revenue to American corporations that otherwise would have been lost. Winning the race to 4G gave the US an advantage in innovation and resulted in new immensely powerful companies, industries, and business models — many of which were global firsts of their kind. Without the US’ achievement in 4G, for instance, there would be no Uber, Instagram, or WhatsApp, according to Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon — at least not as we know them today. And given 5G’s transformative power, the standard is expected to have an even larger economic and social impact than 4G, making 5G leadership even more critical. All told, 5G technologies are expected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years.”

5G will overhaul the tech industry and serve as the backbone to the fourth industrial revolution. 

5G Snapshot, Business Insider Intelligence