The GSMA predicts that mobile data traffic in Europe will almost triple over the next five years, fueled by the expansion of 4G networks in central and eastern Europe and improvements in 5G coverage and capacity.
The analysis shows that 5G subscribers are interested in adding high-bandwidth services like gaming, extended reality, and video streaming, which will require continued network investments by operators expected to spend over €198 billion upgrading networks by 2030.
The mobile ecosystem contributed €910 billion to the European economy in 2022, representing 4.3 percent of the region’s GDP. The mobile industry accounted for 2.2 million jobs directly and indirectly last year.
Mobile technologies increased productivity by €670 billion in Europe, while operators themselves contributed €110 billion. The GSMA forecasts the sector’s total economic contribution will reach €1 trillion by 2030, mostly due to ecosystem expansion and vertical segments benefiting from mobile services.
5G is set to become Europe’s primary mobile technology within three years, led by adoption in Germany and the UK. By 2030, 5G should reach 87 percent of all users.
The report expects 5G to benefit various business sectors as they incorporate use cases. 53 percent of 5G’s projected business advantages will come from services and 30 percent from manufacturing by 2030. Overall, 5G will contribute €153 billion to European GDP in the next decade—around 15 percent of mobile’s total economic gain.
However, policies holding back next-generation network investment threaten Europe’s digital leadership and its “Digital Decade” targets according to the GSMA. For example, just five percent of European 5G networks were “standalone” 5G compared to 25 percent in Asia-Pacific—reflecting the difficult operating climate for operators.
Continued network investment is now vital for Europe to compete globally and give citizens and businesses the digital infrastructure they will need.
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