580 mn 5G subscriptions by 2021; India to have 330 mn by 2026

5G will represent around 26% of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions

5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day as per 20th edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.

As per the report, about 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions and 60 percent 5G population coverage are forecast by the end of 2026. The pace of adoption varies widely by region. Europe is off to a slower start and has continued to fall far behind China, the U.S., Korea, Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets in the pace of 5G deployments.

North East Asia is expected to account for the largest share of 5G subscriptions by 2026, with an estimated 1.4 billion 5G subscriptions. While North American and GCC markets are expected to account for the highest 5G subscription penetration, with 5G mobile subscriptions comprising 84 percent and 73 percent of all regional mobile subscriptions respectively.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson said, “Now is the time for advanced use cases to start materializing and deliver on the promise of 5G. Businesses and societies are also preparing for a post-pandemic world, with 5G-powered digitalization playing a critical role.”

Patrik Cerwall, Head of Strategic Marketing Insights, Ericsson and Executive Editor, Ericsson Mobility Report said, “The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating digitalization, as well as increasing the importance of, and need for reliable, high-speed mobile broadband connectivity. Almost nine out of ten communications service providers (CSPs) that have launched 5G also have a fixed wireless access (FWA) offering (4G and/or 5G), even in markets with a high fiber penetration.”

In the India region, 5G will represent around 26 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions.

The number of smartphone subscriptions was 810 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2026. Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 72 percent of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 and are projected to constitute over 98 percent in 2026, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.

Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India and Head of Network Solutions for South east Asia, Oceania and India, Ericsson said, “The average traffic per smartphone user in India has increased from 13 GB per month in 2019 to 14.6 GB per month in 2020. The average traffic per smartphone in the India region stands second highest globally and is projected to grow to around 40 GB per month in 2026.

Total mobile data traffic in India has grown from 6.9 EB/month to 9.5 EB/month in 2020 and is projected to increase by more than four times to reach 41 EB/month in 2026.

According to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab study at least 40 million smartphone users in India could take up 5G in the first year of 5G being made available with consumers even willing to pay 50 percent more for 5G plans with bundled digital services, compared to just 10 percent premium for 5G connectivity.

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