LTE will become the dominant access technology in the world during 2018 overtaking GSM and 3G for the first time, Ericsson forecast in the latest edition of its Mobility Report.
According to predictions from the June edition of Ericsson’s regular industry report, there will be around 2.6 billion LTE subscriptions by the end of 2018, ahead of the 1.9 billion GSM/EDGE-only and 2.4 billion 3G connections.
By the end of 2022, Ericsson expects this number to reach 5 billion LTE subscriptions around the world, seven times greater than those using GSM/EDGE and four times higher than those relying primarily on 3G.
The report covers connection trends and predictions for the next five years. It highlighted the continued growth of LTE in developed and developing markets as key drivers for the industry, alongside increased data usage from the continued popularity of mobile video.
During 2016, worldwide monthly data usage was 8.8 exabytes, with half of this figure attributed to mobile video usage. In 2022, Ericsson believes this will increase to 71 exabytes, with the proportion of mobile video reaching three quarters.
With commercial 5G deployments widely expected to begin in 2020, Ericsson includes the technology in the last two years of its projection.
By the end of 2022 it expects the technology to be available in markets covering 15 per cent of the world’s population.
Excluding IoT, Ericsson forecasts 5G subscriptions will reach 500 million by the end of 2022. IoT, it believes, will account for 18 billion devices across all access technologies by this date, roughly in line with predictions made in its June 2016 report.
The far reaching study revealed an average of 1 million new mobile data connections will be created worldwide per day to the end of 2022. This will take total mobile broadband connections to 8.3 billion, across 5.8 billion unique subscribers.
Ericsson said this growth would be due to: “a growing young population with increasing digital skills, decreasing smartphone prices as well as continued development of 3G and 4G mobile broadband technologies in developing markets.”