Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ericsson Mobility Report November 2019: 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of 2019

The Ericsson Mobility Report November 2019 was published today detailing the global mobile subscriptions, including 5G.

Ericsson Mobility Report: The number of mobile subscriptions worldwide now totals around 8 billion, including 6.2 billion mobile broadband subscriptions.

According to Ericsson, the multinational networking and telecommunications company, a big uptake of 5G subscriptions has taken place in South Korea, with around 3 million subscribers recorded in just a few months. Globally, the Ericsson Mobility Report November 2019 estimates 5G subscriptions for the end of 2019 will reach 13 million.

Key Facts from the Ericsson Mobility Report November 2019:


  • About 50 service providers around the world have announced commercial 5G service launches.
  • About 181 service providers indicated that they expected to have commercial 5G services available in coming years. A total of 21 had already launched services for smartphones and another 5 were offering 5G services for fixed wireless access (FWA). Additionally, 16 service providers indicated they would be launching 5G services during 2019.
  • A big uptake of 5G subscriptions has taken place in South Korea, where all service providers launched commercial 5G services at the beginning of April.
  • In South Korea, service providers have committed to building 5G networks that will cover 93 percent of the population by the end of 2019. Similarly, 5G population coverage in Switzerland is expected to reach around 90 percent at the end of the year.
  • 5G world population coverage is forecast to reach up to 65 percent in 2025.
  • Over the next six years, 5G subscription uptake is expected to be significantly faster than that of LTE, following its launch back in 2009.
  • With the continued momentum for 5G, we predict 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year. A big share of these subscriptions is expected to be in China.
  • In 2025 we forecast 2.6 billion 5G subscriptions globally, accounting for 29 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time.
  • Annual shipments of 5G devices are projected to reach 13 million units by the end of 2019. 5G has clearly outpaced LTE in the number of devices launched during its initial roll-out period. 5G device volumes in 2020 are projected to reach 160 million units, with China expected to massively deploy 5G coverage.
  • Of the 21 service providers that had already launched 5G targeting smartphones, 16 had priced 5G packages higher than their nearest available 4G option. On average they were around 18 percent more expensive, a mark-up of between 6 and 50 percent from the closest 4G option.
  • 5G is expected to be the fastest-deployed mobile communication technology in history.


  • The number of mobile subscriptions grew at 3 percent year-on-year and currently totals around 8 billion. High subscription growth continues from previous quarters in China, which had the most net additions during the quarter (+14 million), followed by Indonesia (+9 million) and the Philippines (+8 million).
  • Subscriptions associated with smartphones account for more than 70 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions. It is estimated there will be 5.6 billion smartphone subscriptions by the end of 2019.
  • The number of 4G (LTE) subscriptions increased by 190 million during the quarter to reach a total of 4.2 billion, or 52 percent of all mobile subscriptions.
  • The number of mobile broadband subscriptions (HSPA (3G), LTE (4G), 5G, CDMA2000 EV-DO, TD-SCDMA and Mobile WiMAX) grew 10 percent year-on-year, increasing by 120 million in Q3 2019.
  • Mobile subscriptions exceed the population in many countries, which is largely due to inactive subscriptions, multiple device ownership and use of different subscriptions for different types of calls. As a result, the number of mobile subscribers is lower than the number of mobile subscriptions. Today, there are around 5.9 billion subscribers globally compared to 8 billion subscriptions.
  • Global mobile subscription penetration is at 104 percent.
  • There are currently 777 commercial 4G networks deployed. Of these, 311 have been upgraded to LTE-Advanced, and 36 Gigabit LTE networks have been commercially launched.
  • Global total mobile data traffic is expected to reach around 38 exabytes per month by the end of the year, and is projected to grow by a factor of 4 to reach 160 exabytes per month in 2025.

Voice/Video Call

  • VoLTE have now been launched in more than 200 networks in over 90 countries.
  • VoLTE services are being deployed using cloud technologies, to enable cost-efficientnetwork operations, easier capacity scaling and faster service deployment.
  • VoLTE subscriptions, estimated at 2.1 billion at the end of 2019, are projected to reach 6.4 billion by the end of 2025, and to account for more than 85 percent of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.
  • VoLTE will also be the foundation for enabling 5G voice calls, SMS and new types of communication services on various 5G devices.
  • There are more than 2,500 VoLTE-enabled device models. The latest models also include the most recent high-definition voice codec Enhanced Voice Services (EVS).
  • More than 165 EVS-capable device models are available, and EVS has been deployed by 20 service providers. This provides improved audio and music quality within calls on VoLTE-capable devices, including 5G smartphones, as well as better call reliability across LTE and Wi-Fi.
  • There are now more than 80 service provider networks with cellular smartwatches enabled with voice services.
  • Video calling over LTE (ViLTE) is now provided in around 20 networks, and there are 395 device models available.

Ericsson said it now has more than 75 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 23 are live networks.

[Download PDF]– Ericsson Mobility Report November 2019

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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