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5G networks will serve 40% of the globe by 2024

Published Nov 27th, 2018 5:11PM EST
5G data
Image: Cultura/REX/Shutterstock

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Hype is slowly building around 5G network availability, with companies like Samsung promising to heavily invest in building out the necessary infrastructure as well as handset makers teeing up 5G smartphones for release soon. In fact, on Tuesday, Sprint announced plans to bring 5G internet connectivity to nine cities during the first half of 2019, the cities being AtlantaChicagoDallasHoustonKansas CityLos AngelesNew York City, Phoenix, and D.C.

Against that backdrop comes a new report from Ericsson which reveals, among other things, that 5G adoption is going to pick up speed, especially after next year. In fact, the report predicts that 5G networks will cover 40% of the globe by 2024, at which time they’ll also handle some 25% of all mobile data traffic.

An Axios piece today about that report notes that, as far as why this is important, this would be the “fastest global adoption ever of a new generation of wireless technology.” It also notes that it’s important, because 5G brings faster speeds that pave the way for things like remote operation of vehicles.

The Ericsson report goes on to tout that a surge in 5G availability will also support the Internet of Things ecosystem, with more than 4 billion IoT cellular connections expected by 2024. From Ericsson’s report, “All four of the (US’s) major service providers have publicly announced that they will begin providing 5G services between late 2018 and mid-2019. Other markets expecting significant 5G subscription volumes early include South Korea, Japan and China. In Europe, some spectrum auctions have already been held, and others will take place over the next few years. The first commercial 5G subscriptions in the region are expected in 2019.

“On a global level, major 5G network deployments are anticipated from 2020, and by the end of 2024 we project 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband. This will account for close to 17 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time.”

The report, which you can read in full here, goes on to note that LTE has been the leading mobile access technology since the end of last year, and LTE subscriptions are expected to keep growing and reach 5.4 billion by the end of 2024. At that point, it will make up more than 60 percent of all mobile subscriptions, according to Ericsson.

“Clearly 5G is at the front of everyone’s mind,” the report continues. “But it should also be remembered that this is just the beginning of a major technology shift, with many challenges ahead.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.