According to Ericsson's (NASDAQ:ERIC) Mobility Report, 5G wireless subscriptions are now expected to reach 1.9 billion in 2024. The forecast is up by 400 million from the company's November 2018 forecast of 1.5 billion, an increase of almost 27%.
5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world's population by end of 2024, and Ericsson thinks it could reach 65%, as spectrum sharing technology enables 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.
Communication service providers in several markets have switched on 5G following the launch of 5G-compatible smartphones. Service providers in some markets are also setting more ambitious targets for population coverage of up to 90% within the first year, Ericsson says.
Smartphones for all main spectrum bands are slated to hit the market over the course of this year. As 5G devices increasingly become available and more 5G networks go live, more than 10 million 5G subscriptions are projected worldwide by the end of 2019.
The uptake of 5G subscriptions is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63% of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being for 5G in 2024. North East Asia follows in second place (47%), and Europe in third (40%).
Fredrik Jejdling, executive vice president and Head of Networks at Ericsson, said: "5G is definitely taking off and at a rapid pace. This reflects the service providers' and consumers' enthusiasm for the technology. 5G will have positive impact on people's lives and businesses, realizing gains beyond the IoT and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. However, the full benefits of 5G can only be reaped with the establishment of a solid ecosystem in which technology, regulatory, security, and industry partners all have a part to play."
Total mobile data traffic continued to grow globally in Q1 2019, up 82% year-on-year. It is predicted to reach 131 exabytes (EB) per month by the end of 2024, at which time 35% is projected to be over 5G networks. There are 1 billion cellular IoT connections globally, a figure that is expected to rise to 4.1 billion by the end of 2024, of which 45% are represented by Massive IoT. Industries using Massive IoT include utilities with smart metering, healthcare in the form of medical wearables, and transport with tracking sensors.