Majority of one billion 5G users in 2023 will be China-based, says CCS Insight

The number of 5G subscribers across the world will hit the one billion mark by mid-2023, with more than half of those from China, according to the latest figures from CCS Insight.

According to the company’s estimates, China will represent more than four subscribers in 10 5G connections globally by 2025. This is because the country will take an early lead compared to other nations, such as South Korea, Japan, and the US - who are fighting it out to champion the first commercial launch of the network, in the number of 5G users.

Despite high ambitions of the European Union in terms of rolling out of the 5G network across the region, it will see success only a year later after China, the analyst firm added.

The adoption of 5G will take a similar path to the 4G LTE technology. By 2025, subscriptions to 5G networks will reach 2.6 billion which will be equivalent to more than one in every five mobile connections. In spite of this, CCS Insight warns about some uncertainties like how and where network operators will deploy vast numbers of new base stations, the lack of clear business case for operators, and consumers' willingness to upgrade their smartphones. In Europe, market fragmentation, the availability of spectrum and the influence of regulators bring additional challenges.

“5G is about creating a network that can scale up and adapt to radically new applications,” said Geoff Blaber, VP research Americas at CCS Insight. “For operators, network capacity is the near-term justification; the Internet of Things and mission-critical services may not see exponential growth in the next few years but they remain a central part of the vision for 5G.

“Operators will have to carefully balance the period between investment and generating revenue from new services,” Blaber added.

CCS Insight sees access of mobile broadband on smartphones as the principal area of 5G adoption. According to the forecast, it will still represent a colossal 99% of the total 5G connections by 2025.

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