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Video content consumption rises as 5G connections hit 690m

By Adeyemi Adepetun
02 September 2022   |   3:56 am
The number of 5G connections worldwide hit 690 million by the end of June 2022, accounting for 8.3 per cent of all cellular subscriptions, according to the latest market report from Ericsson, which believes the 5G market is on course to hit one billion lines by the end of this year.

[FILES] Ultra-speedy 5G networks. — Bloomberg

The number of 5G connections worldwide hit 690 million by the end of June 2022, accounting for 8.3 per cent of all cellular subscriptions, according to the latest market report from Ericsson, which believes the 5G market is on course to hit one billion lines by the end of this year.

According to Ericsson Mobility Report for Q2, the vendor noted 5G subscriptions grew by 70 million during the three months to the end of June as operators continued to roll out their next generation mobile networks, including 5G standalone (SA) systems. By the end of the second quarter, 218 CSPs had launched commercial 5G services, with 24 operators having deployed 5G SA networks.

On August 24, Nigeria through MTN joined the league of countries that have deployed the technology. MTN, which did a pilot, planned to reach seven cities including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri and Maiduguri by year-end. Mafab Communications, on the other hand, has been handed a five-month extension to roll out services in the country.

Ericsson said the global numbers are only set to rise further and perhaps even faster, as more markets allocate 5G spectrum and operators invest heavily in licences – a prime example is the recent record $19 billion 5G auction in India, where 5G services are set to become available as soon as October in some of the major cities.

The Swedish vendor has noted previously that if 5G subscriptions do indeed surpass one billion by the year-end, it will be “the fastest-deployed mobile communication technology in history”.

But while 5G gets a lot of the mobile limelight these days, the global reality is that more than 90 per cent of cellular connections are via previous generations of mobile technology. The total number of global mobile connections stood at around 8.3 billion at the end of June, up by just 52 million during the second quarter, with most of the net gains coming from China (10 million), India (Seven million) and Indonesia (Four million). The chart below provides a breakdown per region:

However, the number of unique mobile subscribers is lower, estimated by Ericsson to be about 6.1 billion: The difference comes from various factors, such as inactive subscriptions and the ownership of multiple devices and/or connections by individuals, the company explained.

The cellular network technology with most subscriptions is still 4G, as its penetration rose by 77 million to around five billion, representing 60 per cent of all mobile connections.

While 4G and 5G numbers continue to rise, the number of 3G connections dropped by 41 million, while 2G-only subscriptions fell by 48 million.

Unsurprisingly, mobile network data traffic volumes grew 39 per cent year-on-year to 100 exabytes (EB) per month on a global scale. By comparison, data traffic in Q2 2021 was a bit more than 70EB/month.

The main drivers for the increase include the rising number of smartphone subscriptions as well as an increase in the average volume of data consumed per subscription, driven mainly by increasing video traffic.

The report also highlighted variations in mobile subscription penetration rates in different parts of the world. While the global figure stood at 106 per cent in the second quarter of 2022, it was lowest in India (including Nepal and Bhutan) at 78 per cent, followed by Africa, with a penetration rate of 86 per cent. On the flip side of the coin was Central and Eastern Europe (including Russia), where subscription penetration was 140 per cent, followed by Western Europe with 129 per cent for the period.

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