Forbes Middle East


As The Race To 5G Heats Up, Almost Half Of The World’s Population To Use The Service By This Year

Nermeen Abbas
As The Race To 5G Heats Up, Almost Half Of The World’s Population To Use The Service By This Year

The next generation of mobile internet connectivity, 5G, is taking off around the globe, with many operators actively building their networks' infrastructure to offer the brand-new technology.

According to the recently released Ericsson Mobility Report, there will be over 10 million 5G subscriptions worldwide by the end of 2019. And 45% of the world’s population will be able to use 5G by end of 2024.  

5G is expected to deliver more bandwidth and higher speeds than 4G; however, questions are being raised over the service's safety and cost.

Major telecom players are currently racing to debut their 5G technology. Samsung recently launched its first 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G.  The company also said that it has helped to deliver 5G wireless service to consumers across 85 major cities in South Korea.

Meanwhile, Nokia announced earlier this month that it has signed 42 commercial 5G deals with operators around the world. In February, Nokia and Saudi Telecom Company (STC) signed a deal to deploy a 5G network with Nokia's end-to-end 5G solutions.

The giant Apple is not rushing to offer a 5G device, as the US-based company is not expected to debut a 5G iPhone until the end of 2020.  

Despite the ongoing battle between Huawei and Washington that has led to the company being blacklisted in the US, the Chinese giant is also continuing to accelerate its steps to grasp 5G innovation opportunities. Huawei has lately signed a deal to develop 5G in Russia and it also plans to roll out its 5G service in several Spanish cities, along with other expected contracts in more countries.

Sweden's Ericsson is also a main player in the 5G market, with live commercial 5G networks in four continents, including multiple operators in both the US and South Korea, as well as in Switzerland, Australia and the UAE.

The uptake of 5G subscriptions is expected to be fastest in North America, with 63% of anticipated mobile subscriptions in the region being 5G in 2024. North East Asia follows in second place (47%) and Europe in third (40%).

As per Ericsson's report, around 1.9 billion 5G subscriptions are expected, with an extra 400 million enhanced mobile broadband subscriptions globally by the end of 2024.

In the Middle East and North Africa, around 60 million 5G subscriptions are forecast for the end of 2024, representing 3% of total mobile subscriptions.

A researcher at Forbes Middle East, where I participate in creating lists such as The Top 100 Startups; The Middle East’s 100 Power Businesswomen; 30 Under 30 among other lists.

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