5G on a roll, cellular IoT deployments ramping up – Ericsson Mobility Report

5G on a roll, cellular IoT deployments ramping up – Ericsson Mobility Report

  • 5 billion IoT cellular connections predicted for 2023
  • 5G commercial launches this year; North America seen leading the 5G uptake
  • 20 percent of global mobile data traffic will be on 5G networks in 2023

Commercial rollouts of 5G and larger than previously forecasted deployments of cellular IoT are focal points in the latest edition of the Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mobility Report.

The forecast for cellular IoT connections has nearly doubled since November 2017. It is now expected to reach an estimated 3.5 billion in 2023, driven by ongoing large-scale deployments in China. New massive IoT cellular technologies such as NB-IoT and Cat-M1 are fueling this growth,  giving service providers opportunities to improve efficiencies and enhance customer value.

Mobile operators have launched more than 60 cellular IoT networks worldwide using these technologies over the same underlying LTE network to support a diverse range of use cases. In North America, these cases are centered on logistics and fleet management while in China it is smart cities and smart agriculture.

First commercial launches of 5G this year

North America is expected to lead the 5G uptake, with all major U.S. operators planning to roll out 5G between late 2018 and mid-2019. By end of 2023, close to 50 percent of all mobile subscriptions in North America are forecast to be for 5G, followed by North East Asia at 34 percent, and Western Europe at 21 percent.  

Globally, major 5G deployments are expected from 2020. Ericsson forecasts over 1 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by the end of 2023, accounting for around 12 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

Mobile data traffic is estimated to surge by eight times during the forecast period to reach close to 107 exabytes (EB) per month – a figure that is equal to every mobile subscriber worldwide streaming full HD video for 10 hours.  By 2023, more than 20 percent of mobile data traffic worldwide is expected to be carried by 5G networks. This is 1.5 times more than the total 4G/3G/2G traffic today.

Like previous mobile access technologies, 5G is expected to be deployed first in dense urban areas with enhanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access as the first commercial use cases. Other use cases will come from industries such as automotive, manufacturing, utilities, and healthcare.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Business Area Networks, says: “2018 is the year 5G networks go commercial as well as for large-scale deployments of cellular IoT. These technologies promise new capabilities that will impact people’s lives and transform industries. This change will only come about through the combined efforts of industry players and regulators aligning on spectrum, standards and technology.”

First-generation, 5G data-only devices are expected from the second half of 2018. The first commercial smartphones supporting 5G in the mid-bands are expected early next year, while support for very high spectrum bands is expected in early to mid-2019.

Thailand Update

“LTE will be the dominant technology in Thailand by 2023” says Nadine Allen, President and Country Manager of Ericsson Thailand. “5G/LTE will account for around 76 percent of the total subscriptions in the country by 2023 compared to 36 percent LTE subscriptions in 2017.”

Nadine Allen, President and Country Manager of Ericsson Thailand says ” 5G is expected to be rolled out in Thailand between 2020 and 2022 and offers significant business potential for Thai operators. Specifically for Thailand, we forecast that operators can add a revenue up to USD 2.6 billion or 22 percent incremental revenues to forecast service revenues by 2026. The largest opportunity for operator-addressable 5G-related revenues will be in sectors like  manufacturing, energy and utilities and public safety.”

Data package subscriptions

Analysis of the available data indicates a general and long-term pattern of larger data plans attracting an increasing proportion of the customer base. Ericsson analysis of data from App Annie, 2018 indicates that in the  period from April 2017 to April 2018, the proportion of subscribers with data usage above 5GB per month has grown from 46% to over 58%. Driving this shift is the growing data consumption by consumers, growing smartphone penetration and attractive data packages  being offered by operators.

App usage

Mobile data usage continues to increase in Thailand with video and social media usage largely driving this growth. Ericsson analysis of data from App Annie, 2018 indicates that in the 12 months from April 2017 to April 2018, Thai users increased their mobile usage of Facebook by 58% while almost doubling their usage of Instagram.

The Ericsson Mobility Report also features articles on network performance through the eyes of customers, smart manufacturing, machine intelligence in network management, and the importance of securing the right spectrum for 5G. Read the full Ericsson Mobility Report



App Annie

* Ericsson analysis of App Annie data on Android platform, April 2018

5G IoT Business Potential

* Ericsson 5G Business Potential Report, November 2017

PR issued in November 2017: Ericsson predicts 1 billion 5G subscriptions in 2023

Check out our new tools: the Ericsson Mobility Visualizer to explore actual and forecast data from the Mobility Report and the Ericsson Mobility Calculator, to discover the relationship between the use of various app types and monthly traffic subscription.

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Dolaporn Saralamba

Communications Manager

Ericsson Thailand

Tel: +662 821 7127

Mobile: +66 97 297 5394

Email:  dolaporn.saralamba@ericsson.com


Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business and is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s investments in innovation have delivered the benefits of telephony and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. The Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York. www.ericsson.com