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By 2027, 5G will be the dominant mobile access technology, according to a 5G forecast from the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. At that time it will have 4.4 billion subscribers globally, according to the report.

Also by 2027, 5G will cover 75% of the world’s population and carry 62% of global smartphone traffic, according to the Ericsson 5G forecast.

By the end of this year, there will be almost 660 million 5G subscribers globally, driven by higher than anticipated demand in North America and China caused by a reduction in device cost, Ericsson said. The report estimates that 5G networks will cover more than two billion people by year-end.

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The technology is set to become the fastest deployed mobile generation, according to the report, which notes that 5G handsets now account for 23% of global connection volume. At the same point in its development, LTE accounted for 8% of handsets.

Growth in 5G subscriptions is already outpacing that of earlier generation technologies. Nearly 100 million 5G subscriptions were added in the third quarter of this year, compared to 48 million new 4G subscriptions, according to the researchers.

Other interesting information from the Ericsson Mobility Report:

  • More than five billion smartphone users have been added since 2011.
  • The amount of data traffic generated in the third quarter of 2021 exceeded all the mobile traffic generated up until the end of 2016.
  • Mobile data traffic has increased almost 300-fold during the past decade.
  • Mobile network data traffic was up 42% year-on-year. In the third quarter, it accounted for about 78 exabytes, including traffic generated by fixed wireless access (FWA).

“Mobile communication has had an incredible impact on society and business over the last ten years,” Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson’s Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, said in a press release about the 5G forecast. “When we look ahead to 2027, mobile networks will be more integral than ever to how we interact, live and work. Our latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that the pace of change is accelerating, with technology playing a crucial role.”

The Ericsson Mobility Report that was released in November 2019 seems to have accurately forecast the rise of 5G. That report said that increased device availability would enable 5G to hit scale in 2020.

Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.

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