MWC 2019: 5G to make minimal progress up to 2025


5G to account for just 15% of global mobile industry by 2025 despite 5G network launches accelerating

The number of 5G network launches and compatible devices is ramping up this year, however 5G is still only on track to account for 15% of global mobile connections by 2025, or 1.4 billion of the total number of connections at that point, according to a new GSMA report.

By 2025, 5G is forecast to account for around 30% of connections in markets such as China and Europe, and around half of the total in the US.

The 2019 global edition of the GSMA’s flagship Mobile Economy report series – published today at MWC Barcelona 2019 – reveals that a further 16 major markets worldwide will switch on commercial 5G networks this year, following on from the first 5G launches in South Korea and the US in 2018. It is calculated that mobile operators worldwide are currently investing around $160 billion per year (CAPEX) on expanding and upgrading their networks, despite regulatory and competitive pressures.

4G will continue to see strong growth over this period, accounting for almost 60% of global connections by 2025, up from 43% last year.

Meanwhile, the number of global IoT connections will triple to 25 billion by 2025, while global IoT revenue will quadruple to $1.1 trillion.

“The arrival of 5G forms a major part of the world’s move towards an era of Intelligent Connectivity, which alongside developments in the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to be a key driver of economic growth over the coming years,” said Mats Granryd, director general at the GSMA. “While 5G will transform businesses and provide an array of exciting new services, mobile technology is also helping to close the connectivity gap. We will connect more than a billion new people to the mobile internet over the next few years, spurring adoption of mobile-based tools and solutions in areas such as agriculture, education and healthcare, which will improve livelihoods of people around the world.”

One billion new unique mobile subscribers have been added in the four years since 2013, bringing the total to 5.1 billion by the end of 2018, representing about two thirds of the global population. More than 700 million new subscribers are forecast to be added over the next seven years, about a quarter of these coming from India alone.

An additional 1.4 billion people will start using the mobile internet over the next seven years, bringing the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to five billion by 2025 (more than 60% of the population).

According to the report, mobile technologies and services generated 4.6% of GDP globally last year, a contribution that amounted to $3.9 trillion of economic value added. This contribution is forecast to grow to $4.8 trillion (4.8% of GDP) by 2023 as countries around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services.

The mobile ecosystem also supported almost 32 million jobs in 2018 (directly and indirectly,) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with more than $500 billion raised through general taxation.

Looking further ahead, it is forecast that 5G will contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years, with key sectors such as manufacturing, utilities, and professional and financial services benefitting the most from the new technology.


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