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World moves to 5G this year, but India will see traction only by 2026: Ericsson study

June 17 2021:Telecom leader Ericsson, in its 2021 edition of its annual  Mobility Report finds  the world on the cusp of a shift to 5G with 580 million subscriptions predicted by year end. But India is not one of the, Here, one can expect 5G  to account for a quarter of the mobile subscriptions only by 2026.
However in a bad  quarter  due to pandemic India still accounted for the most additions to mobile subscriptions – 26 million – than any other country in the first quarter of 2021.
We bring you extracts from the executive summary and some India specific findings:
As countries around the world deal with different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is clear that technology, and specifically connectivity, increasingly supports many aspects of our everyday lives. The resilience and diligence of our industry continues to be evidenced by the striking numbers in this edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. The speed of 5G uptake is far higher than it was for 4G, let alone 3G, and it is one more sign of an industry that tirelessly continues to drive innovation and bring new technology to the market.
So far, more than 160 communications service providers have launched 5G services and over 300 5G smartphone models have been announced or launched commercially. Before the end of this year, we will have surpassed half a billion 5G users in the world.
However, the picture becomes a bit different when looking at the development on a regional level, where it is clear that it will take longer in some regions for 5G to be deployed and ready for mass-adoption. Nevertheless, whether it’s 4G or 5G, the need for good, high-speed connectivity is virtually limitless. The fact that more than 70 percent of all service providers are now offering fixed wireless access (FWA) services speaks to this need.
As societies plan a return to a more normal situation after the pandemic, the need to secure and invest in high-quality digital infrastructure should be on everyone’s agenda as a key component of economic recovery. It’s a good thing, then, that the industry able to deliver on that need is already on its way to doing so.
5G penetration
5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device grew by 70 million during the first quarter, to reach around 290 million.
580 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2021.
Currently, North East Asia has the highest 5G subscription penetration, followed by North America, Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Western Europe. In 2026, it is projected that North America will have the highest share of 5G subscriptions of all regions at 84 percent.
5G subscription uptake is expected to be faster than that of 4G following its launch in 2009.
In the India region, 4G subscriptions are forecast to rise from 680 million in 2020 to 830 million in 2026, increasing at a CAGR of 3 percent. 4G remained the dominant technology in 2020, accounting for 61 percent of mobile subscriptions. The technology will continue to be dominant, representing 66 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2026, with 3G being phased out by that time. 5G will represent around 26 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2026, estimated at about 330 million subscriptions. The number of smartphone subscriptions was 810 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7 percent, reaching over 1.2 billion by 2026. Smartphone subscriptions accounted for 72 percent of total mobile subscriptions in 2020 and are projected to constitute over 98 percent in 2026, driven by rapid smartphone adoption in the country.
Net additions of mobile subscriptions
The net addition of mobile subscriptions was quite low during Q1 2021, at 59 million. This is likely due to the pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions. India had the most net additions (+26 million), followed by China (+6 million) and Nigeria (+3 million).
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India snapshot
There were 810 million smartphone users in India by the end of 2020.
The number is estimated to go up to 1.2 billion by 2026.
By the end of 2026, 5G will represent 26% of the total number of mobile
subscription in India.
Between 2019 and 2020 the average traffic per smartphone user in India
has increased from 13GB to 14.6GB per month.
India ranks second in terms of the highest data consumption per smartphone
user every month, trailing behind China.
The average traffic per smartphone users in India is estimated to grow as high
as 40GB per month by 2026.. fuelled by 5G.
4G represents 61% of mobile subscription in India now.
Despite 5G arrival,4G will be the dominating network in 2026 with 66% share.
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Ericsson’s Mobility Report 2021  resources here