The number of 5G connections worldwide will surpass 1 billion in the first half of 2023 and reach 2.7 billion by 2025 – the equivalent to one in five mobile connections.
This is according to research firm CCS Insight, which raised its near-term expectations for 5G connections following a number of operator moves. It predicts that 5G connections will reach 340 million in 2021 and continue to climb thereafter.
“The intentions of major US carriers to launch 5G in late 2018 have been clear for a while. But recently we’ve seen greater urgency to deploy networks from providers in Europe, the Middle East and China,” said Kester Mann, principal analyst at CCS Insight.
“While Europe may still be around a year adrift of the leading markets in 5G, some regional operators are clearly determined to launch commercial services as soon as next year.”
In Western Europe, CCS expects there to be more than 20 million 5G connections at the end of 2020 as operators like Vodafone, Orange, Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica launch services – growing fivefold to more than 100 million two years later.
China is tipped to overtake the US to become the biggest 5G market in 2020, with 40 million connections. By 2025, connections in China will surpass 1 billion, accounting for nearly four connections in every ten worldwide.
The research predicts that the iPhone is unlikely to be among the first 5G phones in 2019, but says: “Despite Apple’s possible late arrival, almost 60 million 5G-enabled smartphones are forecast to be sold in 2019, growing to over half a billion in 2021.”