5G platform can foster innovation for consumers and enterprises

December 07, 2020 | 09:00
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The number of people worldwide with access to 5G coverage is growing rapidly, and forecast to reach more than one million by the end of the year. Denis Brunetti – president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos – analyses global 5G adoption trends and how it will enable Vietnam to unlock its full potential and accelerate its digital transformation journey.
5g platform can foster innovation for consumers and enterprises
Denis Brunetti – president of Ericsson in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos

This week we released the Ericsson Mobility Report November edition, and insights from it point to a strong uptake on 5G in markets where it has been launched.

4G networks meanwhile continue to gain momentum and are further evolving to deliver increased network capacity and faster data speeds. The global 4G population coverage is expected to be over 80 per cent at the end of 2020, and more than one billion people will have access to 5G coverage by that time.

Current 5G uptake in subscriptions and population coverage confirms the technology deployment as being the fastest of any generation of mobile connectivity. By the end of 2026, the report forecasts 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions globally, accounting for around 40 per cent of all mobile subscriptions at that time.

The Ericsson report projects that four out of every 10 mobile subscriptions in 2026 will be 5G, with 220 million global 5G subscriptions also expected by the end of this year, forecasting to reach around 95 per cent in 2026.

In Southeast Asia and Oceania, 5G is predicted to be the second most popular technology in 2026 only behind 4G, surpassing 380 million subscriptions and accounting for 32 per cent of all mobile subscriptions. The second half of the year has seen a number of commercial 5G launches in Southeast Asia and Oceania with live networks now in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines. With 5G commercial pilots launched in Vietnam this month, mass 5G deployments are expected in 2021 and beyond.

Even though current commercial 5G networks in the Southeast Asian region have mostly been deployed on mid-bands, market interest for high-band spectrum has driven successful trials for high frequency bands like mmWave in Australia, showcasing groundbreaking speeds. In addition to mobile broadband deployments, fixed wireless access adoption is growing strong with live 5G networks already launched in Australia and the Philippines.

In Southeast Asia and Oceania, total mobile data traffic continues to grow with a compound annual growth rate of 33 per cent for the forecast period. It is expected to reach 32 exabytes per month in 2026, equivalent to 33GB per month per smartphone.

5G adoption is growing in momentum in both the network and device domains with over 150 5G device models launched commercially, including iOS-capable devices. Growing affordability of 5G smartphones is another factor contributing to the fast 5G uptake in markets.

However, it is important to point out that 5G success will not be limited to coverage or subscription numbers alone. Its value will also be determined by new industry based use cases and applications, the first of which have already started to emerge. Critical Internet of Things (IoT), intended for time-critical applications that demand data delivery within a specified time duration, will be introduced in 5G networks. This will enable a wide range of time-critical services for consumers, enterprises and public institutions across various sectors.

With its superior reliability, high data speeds, and low latency, 5G promises to help mobile operators in Vietnam manage growing data traffic more efficiently, followed by country specific consumer and enterprise related 5G use cases being developed over time. 5G will enable Vietnam to unlock its full potential, accelerating its digital transformation journey and adoption of Industry 4.0, which will drive and create the next wave of sustainable and inclusive socioeconomic development in Vietnam fuelled by sci-tech and innovation, in line with the government’s strategic vision.

We are convinced that high-speed mobile connectivity like 5G will be instrumental in providing a stable platform for innovation and economic growth, not least when we factor in the big potential that is still untapped by unlocking ecosystems and digitalising industry verticals such as healthcare, energy and utilities, transportation, and agriculture, to name a few.

When the current 4G networks were being built around the globe, the potential of what 4G could do was not predictable. But smart minds figured out the capabilities and the power of that 4G network, enabling entrepreneurs and innovators to lead in the app economy. Just look at some of the great global innovations with 4G, Netflix, Uber, Spotify, and more. The early adopters of 4G benefitted greatly and became global leaders.

Looking to enterprises and governments, new use cases will range from mission-critical and industrial IoT applications to connected healthcare and smart city ecosystems. In the 5G era for example, production systems and machines will network, operate, and transfer large amounts of data in milliseconds on secure 5G networks. In addition, connected cameras and sensing devices can provide feedback to remotely situated control centres and enable skilled staff to monitor and steer manufacturing remotely.

If the past 6-8 years have been about massive data usage and shifts in consumer behaviour, the next decade will be one of connecting everything that can be connected. While 4G gave us the application economy, 5G will be the greatest open innovation platform for consumers and enterprises.

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