STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s Ericsson <ERICb.ST> expects the number of 5G subscriptions to reach 2.6 billion by the end of 2025, up from 13 million in 2019, with network coverage offering access to 65 percent of the world’s population, it said on Monday.
With its current momentum, 5G uptake is expected to be significantly faster than that of LTE, the telecoms network equipment maker said in its biannual Mobility Report.
It added that 5G subscriptions would account for 29 percent of all mobile subscriptions in 2025.
Ericsson, which competes with China’s Huawei and Finnish rival Nokia <NOKIA.HE>, said that North America is expected to lead the 5G uptake with 74 percent of anticipated mobile subscriptions in its region in six years, followed by North East Asia and Europe.
“It is encouraging to see that 5G now has broad support from almost all device makers. In 2020, 5G-compatible devices will enter the volume market, which will scale up 5G adoption,” Fredrik Jejdling, head of Ericsson Networks, said in a statement.
The company’s previous forecast in June predicted 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions in 2024 and network coverage to have reached more than 45 percent of the world’s population.
Ericsson said that China’s 5G launch in October had led to an update of estimated 5G subscriptions for year-end 2019 to 13 million from 10 million.
The mobile network industry has faced a tough period with subsiding demand for 4G and older network equipment. 5G spending in North America has helped to fuel a return to growth.
LTE (4G) will remain the dominant mobile access technology by subscription during 2019-2025, Ericsson said, with 5.4 billion subscriptions in 2022 and 4.8 billion expected by the end of 2025.
The new generation of mobile phone technology will bring faster data speeds and better accommodate a greater variety of connected devices.
(Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)