Global 5G Connections Increase 76% Annually
The fifth generation of wireless cellular networks, “5G” marked another year of astonishing growth. After adding nearly half a billion connections in 2022, healthy 5G uptake continues into 2023 with momentum in enterprise subscriptions and industrial deployments. Global 5G wireless connections increased by 76% from the end of 2021 to the end of 2022, reaching up to 1.05 billion. According to data from Omdia and 5G Americas, it will touch a mark of 5.9 billion by the end of 2027.
Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas said,”5G is growing remarkably and scaling faster than any other previous generation of mobile wireless. While deployments and connections are added at a significant pace, the promise of 5G will be realized by technological progress in areas like standalone architecture and network slicing for new use cases.”
Most recent data from Omdia indicates 455 million global 5G connections were added in 2022. Overall, those figures represent 14 percent sequential quarterly growth from 922 million in Q3 2022 to 1.05 billion in Q4 2022. Global 5G connections are forecast to continue their acceleration in 2023, approaching 2 billion and reaching 5.9 billion by the end of 2027.
North America is a leader in the uptake of wireless 5G connections with a total of 119 million 5G and 507 million LTE connections by the end of Q4 2022. 5G penetration of the population in the North American market is approaching 32 percent, as the region added 52 million 5G connections for the year – a gain of 78 percent over Q4 2021. Overall, a total of 215 million 5G connections are projected to come from North America in 2023, bolstered by strong 5G smartphone shipments in the US. According to Ericsson, total global mobile data traffic reached 118 exabytes (EB) per month by the end of 2022 and is projected to nearly quadruple to reach 325 EB per month in 2028.
Kristin Paulin, Principal Analyst at Omdia said, “In North America, carriers offer 5G smartphone models at varying price points, along with smartphone promotions – including some free smartphone deals. This is helping to drive 5G adoption as there is wide 5G coverage in North America, making it likely to be in a 5G service area. The only other thing required is a 5G-eligible plan.”
In comparison, 4G LTE is expected to remain strong in Latin America and the Caribbean through the end of 2023. In Q4 2022, there were 537 million 4G LTE connections, representing 9.3 percent annual growth with the addition of 46 million new LTE subscriptions. Latin America and the Caribbean had 12 million 5G connections by year end of 2022 and is expected to have 400 million by 2027.
According to Jose Otero, Vice President of Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas, “Connectivity and specifically mobile broadband communications is a key part of how people live, study and transact business. 5G and LTE continue to make significant progress throughout the region. Longer term, 5G has an opportunity to foster productivity and industrial development in the region.”
Overall, the number of 5G commercial networks globally has reached 259, according to data from TeleGeography and 5G Americas. That number is expected to reach 390 by the end of 2023 and 403 by the end of 2025, representing strong 5G network investment growth in many regions throughout the world. The number of 5G and 4G LTE network deployments as of March 16, 2023, are summarized below:
- Global: 259
- North America: 14
- Caribbean and Latin America: 28
- Global: 702
- North America: 17
- Caribbean and Latin America: 128