Global wireless 5G adoption has reached the “rapid acceleration phase,” according to 5G Americas. The organization cites a 5G connections forecast from Omdia projecting 1.3 billion connections by the end of the year.
That data showed that 303 million 5G connections were added worldwide during 2021, a 139% increase, reaching a total of 521 million. In the fourth quarter, the number of connections grew by 19% compared to the same period in 2020.
The report’s 2022 projections are in line with an earlier report by GSMA that also predicted 1.3 billion 5G connections by the end of the year and 2 billion 5G connections by the end of 2025.
According to the Omdia data, North American 5G connections totaled 72 million as of the end of 2021, with more than two-thirds of that (54 million) being added during the year. There were also 514 million LTE connections in North America as of the end of 2021, which 5G America said represents near full market maturity.
LTE remains dominant in Latin America, with 495 million connections today, though 301 million 5G connections are expected for the region by 2026. Omdia expects 4G LTE growth will remain strong in Latin America and the Caribbean through 2022 with the addition of 43.2 million new 4G LTE connections, as 5G adoption begins to overtake 4G LTE.
“We are now out of the opening stages of this generation of wireless cellular technology, as 5G is rapidly getting into the hands of consumers and businesses, who are finding innovative new ways to use mobile connectivity,” said Chris Pearson, 5G Americas president, in a prepared statement about the 5G connections forecast.