Ericsson Mobility Report: COVID-19 impact shows networks’ crucial role in society

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Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) expects the global number of 5G subscriptions to top 190 million by the end of 2020 and 2.8 billion by the end of 2025. 5G will account for 18  percent of all mobile subscriptions by 2025.These forecasts are included in the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, along with projections for data traffic growth, and regional subscriptions.

The report also takes an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running, and families connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson, says: “The spread of COVID-19 has prompted people all over the world to change their daily lives and, in many cases, work or study from home. This has led to a rapid shift of network traffic from business to residential areas. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile and fixed networks are increasingly playing an even bigger part of critical national infrastructure.”

While 5G subscription growth in some markets has slowed as a result of the pandemic, this is outweighed by other markets where it is accelerating, prompting Ericsson to raise its year-end 2020 forecast for global 5G subscriptions.

”Beyond measuring the success of 5G in subscriptions, its impact ultimately will be judged by the benefits it brings to people and enterprises,” Jejdling adds. ”5G was made for innovation and this crisis has highlighted the true value of connectivity and the role it can play in restarting economies.

Changes in behavior due to lockdown restrictions have caused measurable changes in the usage of both fixed and mobile networks. The largest share of the traffic increase has been absorbed by fixed residential networks, which has experienced a 20-100 percent growth. But many service providers also noticed a spike in demand on their mobile network.

In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83 percent of the respondents from 11 countries claim that ICT helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown. The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity.

Looking ahead, while 57 percent say they will save money for financial security, one-third plan to invest in 5G and an improved broadband at home to be better prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Ericsson Mobility Report, India Highlights: India remains the region with the highest usage per smartphone per month. Total traffic is projected to triple, reaching 21EB per month in 2025. In the India region, the average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone continues to show robust growth, boosted by the rapid adoption of 4G. Low prices for mobile broadband services, affordable smartphones and people’s changing video viewing habits have continued to drive monthly usage growth in the region. The number of smartphone subscriptions has increased to 620 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9 percent, reaching 1 billion by 2025. Around 410 million additional smartphone users are expected in India by 2025.

LTE remains the dominant technology, accounting for 49 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2019. LTE will continue to be dominant, representing 64 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2025. In the India region, LTE subscriptions are forecast to increase from 550 million in 2019 to 820 million in 2025, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent.

Mobile broadband technologies accounted for 58 percent of mobile subscriptions in 2019, and this figure is predicted to reach 82 percent by 2025. The total number of mobile broadband subscriptions is set to exceed 1 billion by 2025. “5G will represent around 18 percent of mobile subscriptions in India at the end of 2025.” states Patrik Cerwall, Head of Strategic Marketing Insights and Executive Editor of the Ericsson Mobility Report.

5G Business Potential

The current COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of digitalization for businesses worldwide. With consumer and personal communication-centric commercial 5G networks already live around the globe, the next wave of 5G expansion will allow businesses to reap the benefits of enhanced mobility, flexibility, reliability, and security – taking IoT and industrial applications to never-before-seen levels. The combination of 5G and digitalization creates new opportunities for service providers to build and extend their businesses beyond connectivity. Ericsson’s 5G for Business : a 2030 market compass anticipates that by 2030 up to USD 700 billion of 5G-enabled, business-to-business value could be addressed by service providers . In India, the projected value of the 5G-enabled digitalization revenues will be approximately USD 17 billion by 2030. 5G is a platform for innovation. It enables new services for consumers ,enterprises and industry, including large-scale IoT use cases. Healthcare, manufacturing, automotive and the energy/utilities sectors are among the biggest revenue generating opportunities for Communications service providers in 5G.

States Nitin Bansal, Head of Network Solutions, South east Asia, Oceania and India,” It is key to invest in 4G in India, to excel in 5G. Here, private networks represent a very important first step and fundamental to building a momentum in serving a wide array of 5G-enabled use cases. Mobile technology is an unmatched connectivity foundation for the digital transformation of any industry, and any product, anywhere in the world.”

At Ericsson, we have the right 5G portfolio in place to enable our customers to deploy 5G networks in all main frequency bands globally in the fastest and most efficient way. Initially (for the first widespread use case) 5G will be a network capacity, speed and quality enhancer in metropolitan areas with enhanced mobile broadband as a way for operators to address huge traffic growth. Over time, new, exciting innovation in 5G for business will come with IoT use cases as 5G opens up opportunities for operators. Further, we believe that 5G security provides a level of trustworthiness that enables the 5G system to meet the requirements of the vast majority of use cases,” states          Mr Bansal.

Ericsson now has more than 93 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 40 are live networks. Ericsson was the first with commercial live networks on four continents: Europe, America, Asia and Australia. “We have the right 5G portfolio in place to enable our customers to deploy 5G networks in all main frequency bands globally in the fastest and most efficient way. This has been proven in live networks with the best performance results. Our Indian operators can benefit from Ericsson’s global experience  when they plan their 5G deployments in India ” states Mr Bansal .