As Nigeria prepares to launch into the fifth generation (5G) technology era, the global vendor, Ericsson, has said that the technology will be the fastest deployed mobile generation to date. In the latest Ericsson mobility report, the company said the fast 5G deployment is buoyed by the decreasing cost of 5G smartphones globally.
According to the report, based on the current deployment rate, 5G is also expected to account for around 50 per cent of all mobile subscriptions worldwide – covering 75 percent of the world’s population and carrying 62 per cent of the global smartphone traffic by 2027.
With the 5G spectrum auction scheduled to hold on December 13, Nigeria is also looking forward to the rollout of this latest technology by next year. According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the technology would lead to the creation of many jobs and increase productivity in different sectors of the economy.
Ericsson in its latest forecasts declared that 5G is on track to become the dominant mobile access technology, based on subscriptions globally, by 2027. “The premise that 5G will become the fastest deployed mobile generation to date has been enhanced with an updated estimate of close to 660 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year. The increase is due to stronger than expected demand in China and North America, driven in part by decreasing prices of 5G devices. There was also a net addition of 98 million 5G subscriptions globally in Q3 2021, compared to 48 million new 4G subscriptions. At the end of 2021, it is estimated that 5G networks will cover more than two billion people,” it said.
Commenting on the report, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson Fredrik Jejdling, said: “Mobile communication has had an incredible impact on society and business over the last ten years. When we look ahead to 2027, mobile networks will be more integral than ever to how we interact, live, and work. Our latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that the pace of change is accelerating, with technology playing a crucial role.”
Ericsson further disclosed that since 2011, the deployment of 4G LTE networks has been pivotal in generating 5.5 billion new smartphone connections worldwide, contributing to the market availability of more than 20,000 different 4G device models. The report indicated a much earlier technology lifecycle of 5G devices, with 5G handsets today accounting for 23 percent of global volumes, compared to 8 percent of 4G handsets at the corresponding point in its lifecycle.
“This is helping to fuel an exponential growth of mobile data traffic. Mobile network data traffic was up 42 percent, year-on-year, in Q3 2021 accounting for approximately 78 exabytes (EB), including traffic generated by Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services. In Q3 alone, mobile data traffic was more than all mobile traffic ever generated up until the end of 2016. New forecasts reveal that total mobile network data traffic is likely to reach 370EB by the end of 2027.”
The report also revealed that the nature of mobile connections is changing rapidly, contributing to the ongoing rise in mobile data traffic. According to the report, broadband IoT has now surpassed 2G/3G as the segment that connects the largest share of IoT applications. It is expected to account for 47 per cent of all cellular IoT connections by the end of 2021, compared to 37 percent for 2G/3G and 16 percent for Massive IoT technologies (NB-IoT and Cat-M).
The new forecasts reaffirmed the rapid acceleration of massive IoT deployments in coming years, spanning use cases such as e-health wearables, logistical asset tracking, environmental monitoring and smart meters, and smart manufacturing tracking and monitoring devices. Massive IoT deployments are forecast to account for 51 percent of all cellular IoT connections by 2027.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson noted that mobile penetration is still less than the global average, adding that mobile subscriptions would continue to grow by an additional 25 per cent over the forecast period. “4G is estimated to account for close to 20 percent of subscriptions at the end of 2021. Over the forecast period, the total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is predicted to increase, reaching 78 per cent of mobile subscriptions,” it stated.