The 5G subscriptions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region are projected to grow steadily at an average annual rate of 30%, from 15 to 71m up to the end of 2028, accounting for 86% of total connections at that time, according to the November 2022 edition of the Ericsson mobility report.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Nicolas Blixell, Vice President and Head of Gulf Council Countries at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “As communication service providers explore diverse service offerings, 5G is anticipated to be the segment with the fastest growth. The demand for and growth of Fixed Wireless Access is also exceeding our expectations, as depicted by the latest Ericsson Mobility Report. It is worth noting that we have observed communication service providers in the region increasingly building on B2B opportunities as well.”
Global 5G subscriptions remain on track to top 1bn by the end of this year, and 5bn by the end of 2028, despite current and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world. By the end of 2028, 5bn 5G subscriptions are forecast globally, accounting for 55% of all subscriptions. In that same timeframe, 5G population coverage is projected to reach 85% while 5G networks are expected to carry around 70% of mobile traffic and account for all contemporary traffic growth.
On 5G itself, about 110m subscriptions were added globally between July-September 2022, bringing the total to about 870m. As forecast in previous reports, 5G is still expected to reach 1bn subscription by the end of this year – two years faster than 4G did, following its launch. The statistic reinforces 5G as the fastest-scaling mobile connectivity generation.
Overall mobile subscriptions are expected to top 8.4bn by the end of 2022, and 9.2bn by the end of 2028. Most subscriptions are associated with smartphones. At the end of 2022, 6.6bn smartphone subscriptions are estimated, accounting for about 79% of all mobile phone subscriptions.
The report also forecasts global fixed wireless access (FWA) connections to grow faster than previously expected. FWA – the wireless alternative to wireline broadband connectivity for homes and businesses – is one of the major early 5G use cases, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets. FWA is forecast to grow at 19% year-on-year through 2022-28, and top 300m connections by the end of 2028.
The latest report also highlights the importance of reducing environmental impact. The telecommunications sector has a key role to play in addressing global sustainability goals, both by reducing its own emissions and through its potential to reduce carbon emissions across other industries.
To reduce the environmental impact, the growing data traffic needs to be managed with smart network modernization combined with a balanced approach to network performance.