Ericsson Mobility Report: 5G Driving Change in FWA Strategy

Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland
Ericsson Mobility Report 2024: Mobile network data traffic jumps 25% year-on-year, driven by 5G migration and data-intense services

In the 2024 Ericsson Mobility Report, results show that mobile network data traffic increased 25% year-on-year between March 2023 and March 2024. This has mainly been driven by subscriber migration to later generations and data-intense services, including video. 

The report also looked at the role of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and how that has continued to grow in strength as a 5G use case.

Mobile data traffic is forecast to grow with a compound annual growth rate of about 20% through the end of 2029. While 25% of all mobile network data was handled by 5G by the end of 2023, which is expected to grow to 75% by 2029.

Here, we look at some more of the highlights. 

Ericsson reports strong growth in Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) as a 5G Use Case

Ericsson reports that Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) continues to grow in strength as a 5G use case for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) across the world, with an increase over the past year in the volume of CSPs offering the service. 

The results show:

  • 310 global CSPs were sampled for the Ericsson study, while 241 were offered FWA services, as of April 2024. 53% of these included a 5G FWA offering, a growth of 29% from 2023.
  • The speed, data handling and low latency capabilities of 5G FWA also increase the attractiveness of speed-based FWA tariff plans to CSPs.

As a result, there has been a 50% growth in the number of service providers offering 5G FWA speed-based tariffs in the past year - with 40% of all FWA CSPs now doing so. FWA is currently second only to enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) as a 5G use case.

There are almost 300 CSPs across the world, which now offer 5G services, of which about 50 have launched 5G Standalone (5G SA). 

However, regarding subscriptions, 5G continues to grow in all regions:

  • 160m 5G subscriptions were added globally in the first three months of 2024 - bringing the total to more than 1.7bn. 
  • 600m new subscriptions are expected in 2024, while researchers suggest that 5G subscriptions will be close to 5.6bn by the end of 2029. Globally the 5G population coverage beyond mainland China is expected to double from 40% at the end of 2023, to 80% by the end of 2029.

5G will account for close to 60% of all mobile subscriptions by the end of 2029. North America is forecast to have the highest level by the end of 2029, with 90% (that’s 430m) of subscriptions expected to be 5G.

Meanwhile in India, 5G subscriptions are expected to grow from 119m at the end of 2023 (just 10% of all mobile subscriptions in the country) to about 840m (65% of all subscriptions) by the end of 2029. Next door in neighbouring China, 5G mid-band population coverage outside of mainland China has reached 35%. 

5G standalone, the ‘gold standard’ of 5G technology

Katherine Ainley, CEO of Ericsson UK & Ireland, spoke exclusively with Mobile Magazine about the good progress being made in the UK’s 5G journey, 

“With outdoor coverage currently at approximately 85%, the focus is now shifting to the rollout of 5G standalone, the ‘gold standard’ of 5G technology,” Katherine told us. 

Yet the goal isn't to just deploy 5G standalone, but to also combine with better use of mid-band spectrum, which offers the sweet spot for high-quality 5G coverage. 

“It is through these deployments that we can unlock the most innovative use cases and support 5G monetisation,” she adds. “For example, 5G standalone enables network slicing, allowing customers to receive a customised portion of the 5G network tailored to their specific needs. This could mean enhancing the fan experience for thousands of fans at events or facilitating autonomous vehicles at a smart port.

“I’m excited about the future of 5G – it will play a crucial role in the UK’s ambition to be a global technology leader.”

 

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