Ericsson Mobility Report: COVID-19 impact shows networks’ crucial role in society

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Ericsson expects the global number of 5G subscriptions to top 190 million by the end of 2020 and 2.8 billion by the end of 2025. In South East Asia and Oceania, 5G will account for 21 percent of mobile subscriptions by 2025. These forecasts are included in the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, along with projections for data traffic growth, and regional subscriptions.

The report also takes an incisive look at the role of networks and digital infrastructure in keeping societies running, and families connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nunzio Mirtillo, Head of Ericsson South East Asia, Oceania and India, says: “The current Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us to do many things differently and to move activities online to different digital platforms. This has led to data proliferation as well as a geographical shift of data traffic from downtown business and public areas to residential areas on both fixed and mobile networks. The crisis has also demonstrated the critical importance of connectivity.”

While 5G subscription growth in some markets has slowed as a result of the pandemic, this is outweighed by other markets where it is accelerating, prompting Ericsson to raise its year-end 2020 forecast for global 5G subscriptions.

Mirtillo adds, “5G is a platform for innovation. Unlike previous generations centred around consumer and personal communications, 5G will serve both consumers and enterprises, 5G will take IoT to the next level where superior connectivity is a prerequisite.”

Value of digital infrastructure

Changes in behavior due to lockdown restrictions have caused measurable changes in the usage of both fixed and mobile networks. The largest share of the traffic increase has been absorbed by fixed residential networks, which has experienced a 20-100 percent growth. But many service providers also noticed a spike in demand on their mobile network.

In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83 percent of the respondents from 11 countries claim that ICT helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown. The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity.

Looking ahead, while 57 percent say they will save money for financial security, one-third plan to invest in 5G and an improved broadband at home to be better prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

5G Business Potential

The current COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the importance of digitalization for businesses worldwide. Connectivity has enabled companies to continue engaging with customers as well as conduct business transactions online. Additionally, the combination of 5G and digitalization creates new opportunities for service providers to extend their businesses beyond connectivity into a variety of sectors ranging from healthcare, automotive to manufacturing.

Magnus Ewerbring, Chief Technology Officer for Ericsson Asia-Pacific says, “Reliable, fast and responsive, 5G has the capabilities to empower new businesses and open up revenue streams for communication service providers. At Ericsson, we have been investing actively in R&D to establish a wide portfolio of 5G products and solutions to enable our customers transition seamlessly to 5G and leverage the full benefits of 5G.”

In South East Asia, the projected value of the 5G-enabled digitalization revenues for service providers will be approximately USD 41 billion by 2030.

Download the June 2020 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report

The report also includes forecasts on data traffic growth, regional subscriptions plus insights into cloud-based gaming as well as in-depth articles on private dedicated networks and Verizon’s millimeter wave strategy for targeted metropolitan areas.

Ericsson now has more than 93 commercial 5G agreements or contracts with unique communication service providers, of which 40 are live networks.

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