Asia Pacific is on track to become the world’s largest 5G region by 2025, led by pioneering 5G markets such as Australia, China, Japan and South Korea, according to the latest edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report.
Launches of commercial 5G networks in these markets beginning next year will see the Asia region reach 675 million 5G connections by 2025, more than half of the global 5G total expected by that point.
“The Asia Pacific region has experienced rapid migration to mobile broadband networks and smartphones over recent years and is now set to play a pioneering role as we move into the 5G era,” said Mats Granryd, GSMA Director General.
“Mobile operators in Asia will invest almost $200 billion over the next few years in upgrading and expanding their 4G networks and launching new 5G networks in order to accelerate the growth of Asia’s digital economies and societies,” added Granryd.
The early 5G launches in Asia, based on 3GPP Release 15, are expected to focus on enhanced mobile broadband services, supplementing the capacity and capabilities of existing mobile broadband networks, particularly in dense urban areas, the report says. However, 5G’s next phase (3GPP Release 16) will lay the foundation to support a range of future 5G use cases and innovations, including massive connectivity and low-latency services such as Internet of Things (IoT), critical communication services (e.g. remote surgery, autonomous vehicles, smart grids) and virtual reality.
As 5G commercialisation approaches, 4G also continues to grow rapidly and is now Asia’s dominant mobile technology. The region is home to some of the world’s most advanced 4G markets in terms of adoption, such as Japan and South Korea, as well as emerging markets such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which are seeing an accelerating migration to 4G.
By 2025, it is expected that 62 per cent of Asia’s mobile connections will be running on 4G networks and 14 per cent on 5G.