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Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2015): 150 million 5G mobile subscriptions by 2021

Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2015) is now released, providing insight into the future of 5G networks, including a forecast of 150 million 5G mobile subscriptions by 2021. Ericsson is the world’s leading network vendor and solutions provider.


South Korea, Japan, China and the US are predicted to lead with the first, and fastest, 5G subscription uptake. 5G technology will connect new types of devices, enabling new use cases related to the Internet of Things (IoT); the transition will open up new industries and verticals to ICT transformation, the Ericsson Mobile Report reveals.

In South East Asia and Oceania, Erisson said:

  • Smartphone and mobile broadband growth: Australia and Singapore are the leading countries, with internet penetration (mobile and fixed) at over 80 percent.
  • The region continues to experience strong growth in new mobile subscriptions. Globally, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Indonesia are among the top 10 countries by net additions in Q3 2015.
  • Depending on the type of app, consumers will decide between mobile broadband or Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. Like most global markets, mobile broadband and Wi-Fi are growing in parallel.
  • In Australia and Indonesia, the 1.1–2 GB plans are slightly more popular than the 2.1–5 GB plans, but for the other countries 2.1–5 GB is the leading plan.
  • Among consumers who subscribe to volume-based packages, around 40 percent utilize less than 50 percent of their mobile broadband plan data quota and close to 20 percent utilize more than 100 percent.
  • While voice traffic remains flat in the region, mobile data traffic will exceed 6 ExaBytes (EB) per month by 2021, up from over 0.4 ExaBytes (EB) in 2015.
  • South East Asia and Oceania: The number of smartphone subscriptions is expected to grow from over 350 million in 2015 to around 850 million subscriptions by the end of 2021.
  • South East Asia and Oceania: By 2021, smartphones are expected to make up close to 70 percent of total mobile phone subscriptions.
  • By 2021, several operators in developed markets, such as Singapore and Australia, plan to close their GSM/EDGE networks.
  • WCDMA/HSPA will continue to see steady growth over the next five years. By 2021, it should
    achieve about 95 percent population coverage.


The report also reveals a significant increase in mobile video consumption, which is driving around six times higher traffic volumes per smartphone in North America and Europe (2015 to 2021). North America data traffic per active smartphone will grow from 3.8 to 22 GB per month by 2021; in Western Europe, the increase is from 2 to 18 GB per month.

Ericsson-Mobile-Report-Nov15-World-Population-Coverage-by-Technology (600 x 450)

Ericsson said 20 new mobile broadband subscriptions are activated every second. As of now, there are the same amount of mobile subscriptions as there are people on the planet; in 2016 we will reach the four billion mark for smartphone subscriptions alone.

Other highlights from the latest Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2015) include:

  • Video dominates data traffic: Global mobile data traffic is forecast to grow ten-fold by 2021, and video is forecast to account for 70 percent of total mobile traffic in the same year. In many networks today, YouTube accounts for up to 70 percent of all video traffic, while Netflix’s share of video traffic can reach as high as 20 percent in markets where it is available.
  • Mainland China overtakes the US as world’s largest LTE market: By the end of 2015, Mainland China will have 350 million LTE subscriptions – nearly 35 percent of the world’s total LTE subscriptions. The market is predicted to have 1.2 billion LTE subscriptions by 2021.
  • Africa becomes an increasingly connected continent: Five years ago (2010) there were 500 million mobile subscriptions across Africa; by the end of 2015 this number will double to 1 billion. Increased connectivity improves the prospect of financial inclusion for the 70 percent unbanked through mobile money services starting to take form across Africa.
  • ICT powers the low-carbon economy: ICT will enable savings in energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across all other industrial sectors. The total emission reduction could be up to 10 gigatonnes of CO2e, representing about 15 percent of global GHG emissions in 2030 – more than the current carbon footprint of the US and EU combined.

The Ericsson Mobility Report is one of the leading analyses of data traffic available, providing in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe. The report uses these measurements and analysis, together with internal forecasts and other relevant studies.

[Download PDF]– Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2015)
[Download PDF]- Ericsson Mobility Report (November 2015), Regional South East Asia and Oceania

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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