The GSMA predicted rapid increases in data traffic across Europe in the next five years, citing a general expected increase in 5G adoption and migration to 4G in central and eastern European countries.

In its Mobile Economy Report Europe 2023, the industry association pointed to indications subscribers already using 5G services would be interested in adding high-bandwidth services to contracts.

This demand is attributed to the popularity of use cases requiring upgraded connectivity such as high quality gaming, XR applications and video content.

As the organisation and operators on the continent have raised a number of times over the last year, expected growth in data demand will require further network upgrade investment which, it noted, are already slated to top €198 billion by 2030.

In 2028 5G is predicted to become the continent’s dominant mobile technology, driven by growth in Germany and the UK.

Despite this march of 5G, the report highlighted continued growth was “tempered by concerns about the impact of policies holding back investment in next-generation network technologies in Europe, threatening the bloc’s digital leadership globally as well as its ambitious digital decade goals”.

For standalone 5G, it noted, the continent was trailing comparable regions last year with 5 per cent of live networks in Europe supporting this standard compared with 25 per cent in APAC.

In 2022 the mobile industry added €910 billion worth of value to Europe’s economies, the GSMA found, equivalent to 4.3 per cent of the continent’s GDP.

Other revelations in the report include “mobile-based productivity” contributing €670 billion of economic value across the region and 2.2 million jobs being supported by the ecosystem in 2022.

By 2030 the mobile sector’s economic contribution is expected to top a €1 trillion, driven partly by increased uptake mobile services by other sectors.