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GSMA: 5G to account for 15% of mobile connections by 2025

As the number of 5G network launches and devices increases this year, 5G is on track to account for 15% of global mobile connections by 2025, according to a new GSMA report.

The 2019 global edition of the GSMA’ Mobile Economy research estimates that the number of 5G connections will reach 1.4 billion by 2025 – accounting for around 30% of connections in markets like Europe and China and around 50% of the total in the US.

Published to coincide with this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, the research predicts that a further 16 major markets worldwide will switch on commercial 5G networks this year, following the first 5G launches in South Korea and the US in 2018.

The GSMA calculates that mobile operators worldwide are currently investing around US$160 billion per year in capex on expanding and upgrading their networks.

It also forecasts that 5G will contribute US$2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years, benefiting sectors including manufacturing and financial services.

“The arrival of 5G forms a major part of the world’s move towards an era of ‘intelligent connectivity’, which alongside developments in the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to be a key driver of economic growth over the coming years,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA.

“While 5G will transform businesses and provide an array of exciting new services, mobile technology is also helping to close the connectivity gap.

“We will connect more than a billion new people to the mobile internet over the next few years, spurring adoption of mobile-based tools and solutions in areas such as agriculture, education and healthcare, which will improve livelihoods of people around the world.”

Overall, the GSMA said that one billion new unique mobile subscribers have been added in the four years since 2013, bringing the total to 5.1 billion by the end of 2018 – representing about two thirds of the global population.

More than 700 million new subscribers are tipped to be added over the next seven years, about a quarter of these coming from India, with 4G due to account for almost 60% of global connections by 2025 – up from 43% last year.

In addition, 1.4 billion more people are expected to start using the mobile internet over the next seven years – bringing the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to 5 billion by 2025, more than 60% of the population.

The GSMA represents the interests of more than 750 mobile operators globally and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies and equipment providers. It also produces MWC events around the world.