Global 5G Surge: Mobile Data Traffic Poised To Triple In Six Years, Says Report

By the end of 2029, it is estimated that 5G subscriptions will constitute 68 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in the domestic region

Nearly 20 per cent of global mobile subscriptions will be 5G by year-end 2023, as per Ericsson's November 2023 Mobility Report. Despite economic challenges and geopolitical unrest, 610 million new 5G subscriptions are expected in 2023, a 63 per cent increase from 2022, reaching a global total of 1.6 billion—100 million more than earlier predictions.

In 2023, North America is set to lead global 5G subscription penetration at 61 per cent. Meanwhile, India anticipates substantial growth, with 5G penetration reaching over 11 per cent by the end of the year, just 14 months post its commercial launch.

The report says that the average data consumption per smartphone worldwide is on a continuous rise. Projections indicate a threefold increase in total mobile data traffic from the end of 2023 to the end of 2029. This surge is attributed to enhanced device capabilities, a rise in data-intensive content, and ongoing advancements in network performance.

On the India front, the report emphasized significant strides in 5G network implementation since the initiation of 5G services in October 2022. Anticipated figures indicate that 5G subscriptions will hit 130 million in 2023 and are projected to escalate to 860 million by 2029. By the close of 2029, it is estimated that 5G subscriptions will constitute 68 per cent of all mobile subscriptions in the region.

Nitin Bansal, Head of Ericsson India said “Mobile networks continue to play a pivotal role in driving social and economic inclusion in India, thereby supporting the government’s vision to transform the country into a digitally empowered society.”

While 4G remains the primary driver of connectivity in the region, subscriptions are expected to decline from 870 million in 2023 to 390 million by 2029, with total mobile subscriptions reaching 1.27 billion in 2029.

India leads globally in average data traffic per smartphone, set to increase from 31 GB monthly in 2023 to approximately 75 GB monthly by 2029, boasting a 16 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). The total mobile data traffic is projected to surge from 26 EB per month in 2023 to 73 EB per month in 2029, with a CAGR of 19 per cent.

Smartphone subscriptions in India, accounting for 82 per cent of total mobile subscriptions in 2023, are anticipated to rise to 93 per cent by 2029.

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