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

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) 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 is predicted to be the second most popular cellular technology in the region, only behind LTE, surpassing 270 million subscriptions and accounting for around 21 percent of all 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.


Nadine Allen, Head of Ericsson Thailand, says: “People all over the world have had to change their daily lives as a result of the spread of COVID-19. The move to working or studying from home has seen network traffic rapidly shift from business to residential areas. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile and fixed networks are increasingly playing an even bigger part of critical national infrastructure.”


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.


“Beyond measuring the success of 5G in subscriptions, 5G will bring enormous benefits to people and enterprises,” Nadine adds. ”5G was made for innovation and this crisis has highlighted the true value of connectivity and the role it can play in rebuilding economies.”


The data traffic per smartphone in South East Asia and Oceania is expected to reach 25GB by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 33 per cent. Traffic growth is driven by coverage build-out and continued adoption of 4G, linked to a rise in smartphone subscriptions and increases in average data usage per smartphone. The total mobile data traffic in South East Asia is expected to reach 25 EB/month from 3.2 EB/month growing at a CAGR of 40 per cent.


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 significantly helped them 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.



Wuttichai Wutti-Udomlert, Head of Network Solutions, Ericsson Thailand, says: “At Ericsson, we have the right 5G portfolio in place to enable our customers to deploy 5G networks in all main frequency bands globally in the fastest and most efficient way. Over time, new exciting innovation in 5G for business will come with IoT use cases as 5G opens up opportunities for operators.”


Thailand is the first country in South East Asia to commence commercial deployment of 5G in March this year.


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