December 16, 2019
A recent Ericsson Mobility Report reveals that there has been a 68 percent increase worldwide in mobile data traffic and that it is expected to continue to grow with the adoption of 5G and increased expansion of 4G mobile networks. Ericsson predicts that, by the end of 2025, there will be 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions, accounting for 65 percent of the world’s population and generating 45 percent of the globe’s total mobile data traffic. In related news, AT&T rolled out low-band 5G service to customers in 10 cities.
VentureBeat reports Ericsson also noted that 5G will be “the fastest developing mobile communication technology to have ever been rolled out on a global scale.” Its report predicts that “North America will lead the way … due to North American consumers’ high adoption rate of communication technology.”
Adoption is expected to reach 320 million 5G subscriptions, “accounting for 74 percent of all mobile subscriptions.” Also in North America, 91 percent of “current wireless subscriptions in this market are 4G, which is the highest share globally.”
With its “fast adoption rate, speed and low latency,” 5G will drive data use. In addition to video, “mobile gaming … the push toward higher resolutions … [and] more immersive media formats and applications like VR/AR and 360 video” will be responsible for such increased traffic.
The report estimated that “by 2025, the expected average monthly mobile data usage will be 45GB per smartphone in North America alone.” In comparison, South Korean carriers that launched nationwide 5G “saw an average mobile data traffic per subscriber of over 25GB per month in August … a result of the 3 million early adopters.”
The Mobility Report also predicted that “4G subscriptions will continue moderate growth … [reaching] 4.79 billion by 2025, on a parallel path with the rollout of 5G.” In India, for example, 86 percent of the population has mainly 4G and 2G mobile subscriptions. Total mobile subscriptions there are expected to increase by 3 percent by 2025, consisting of 4G (80 percent) and 5G (11 percent).
The Verge reports that AT&T started sales of the Samsung Galaxy Note Plus 5G, priced at $1,300, and has turned on 5G within its coverage areas to all subscribers. The ten cities are Birmingham, Alabama; Indianapolis, Indiana; Los Angeles, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Providence, Rhode Island; Rochester, New York; San Diego, California; San Francisco, California; and San Jose, California.
The 5G launch relies on low-band 850MHz spectrum technology that has slower speeds than mmWave (also known as Sub-6) but will be “the backbone of AT&T’s 5G coverage across the country.” The carrier has promised a nationwide 5G launch in 2020 and that it will offer mmWave “at a later date.”
Current 5G support is available to customers with either AT&T’s Unlimited Extra or Unlimited Elite plans, for no extra charge, but “using 5G data will count toward the unlimited plans’ throttling caps (50GB and 100GB of total data usage).”