The future of 5G mobility across the world

5G coverage build-out in new bands is forecast to reach 45% of the world's population by the end of 2024 and is expected to be faster than that of 4G

All regions now have mobile broadband subscription penetration of 50%. On a global level, the mobile broadband subscription makes up 76% of all mobile subscription. In 2018, the mobile subscription of 2G was still 47% in India. Mobile data traffic grew 82% between Q1 2018 and Q2 2019. The high growth rate was mainly impacted by the increased number of smartphone subscriptions in India and increased data traffic per smartphone per month in China. The India region had the highest average monthly usage per smartphone.

India’s mobile data traffic per smartphone is 9.8 GB per month in 2018 and it will increase to 18 GB per month by 2024. The three main drivers for growth globally are:

  • Improved device capabilities
  • More affordable data plans
  • Increase in data-intensive content

According to an Ericsson Mobility report, video is estimated to make up almost 75% of mobile traffic in 2024. In 2018, the mobile data traffic by video usage was 28EB, which refers to 60% of data consumed was through video.

The main drivers of video usage are:

– Video in most online content

– Growth of VoD services

– Video streaming services

– Changing user behaviour

– Increased segment penetration

– Evolving devices

– Increased network performance

– Emerging immersive formats and applications.

There will likely be 2.1 billion VoLTE subscriptions by the end of 2019. VoLTE has now been launched in over 170 networks in 85+ countries. VoLTE is the foundation for enabling voice and communication services on 5G devices.

5G momentum

As per Ericsson, the strong momentum for 5G continues with several markets having switched on to the same, following the introduction of new compatible smartphones. Around 1.9bn subscriptions are forecasted in 2024. 5G networks are forecast to carry 35% of mobile data traffic globally in 2024. Smartphones continue to generate most of the mobile data traffic — close to 90% today and projected to reach 95 percent at the end of 2024. Also, 131EB per month total traffic has been predicted to reach in 2024.

5G can cover up to 65 percent of the world’s population in 2024., and the coverage build-out can be divided into three broad categories:

  •  Radio deployments in new bands in the sub-6GHz range
  • Deployments in millimeter wave frequency bands.
  • Deployments in existing LTE bands

5G coverage build-out in new bands is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population by the end of 2024. This can be augmented with up to 20 percentage points by sharing of LTE bands. 5G population coverage build-out is expected to be faster than 4G. In 2024, up to 65 percent of the world’s population may be covered by 5G. Technology advancements can enable a rapid 5G population coverage build-out, adding an additional 20 percentage points.

Expectations from 5G

Smartphone penetration continues to rise with 5.1bn smartphones by technology subscription in 2018. In 2024, this is expected to increase to 7.2bn. 5G smartphones are expected to be available in all three spectrum bands in 2019. There is strong commitment and increasing 5G focus from chipset and device vendors. Chipsets for standalone architecture are also expected in the second half of 2019.

In the meantime, the smartphone of today needs to evolve. 81% expect at least one feature, beyond battery life and extreme storage in their 5G-ready device. Other key features include:

  • 360-degrees camera
  • 8k resolution
  • eye movement tracking
  • foldable screens
  • AI-based Intelligence
  • Hologram projector
  • Security as strong as DNA authentication
  • Sensory experience (touch and feel)

4 in 10 chose these features among the expected ones for a future 5G device. Indian smartphone users are ready to pay over 66 percent premium for 5G services. The average amount they can pay is 200 INR per month.

What if your own operator does not switch on 5G and somebody else does in the market? In India, more than half expect their own provider to switch on the same, or else they will wait maximum 6 months before moving to a provider that does.

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