Connectivity Unleashed as 5G demonstrates the fastest generational roll-out in mobile history - with innovative new use cases accelerating adoption.
According to the GSMA, 5G connections will surpass 1 billion in 2022 and 2 billion by 2025. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for over a fifth of total mobile connections, and more than two in five people globally will live within reach of a 5G network, according to The Mobile Economy Report 2022 from the GSMA.
This unprecedented growth represents the fastest generational roll-out for the mobile industry compared to 3G and 4G. By comparison, 18 months after its launch, 5G accounted for more than 5.5% of mobile connections – neither 3G nor 4G exceeded 2.2% penetration in the same time.
Today there are nearly 200 live 5G networks in seventy countries, including 68 operators providing 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services and 23 delivering Stand Alone (SA) 5G services. All this supports consumer demand propelled by an ever-growing portfolio of 5G-enabled smartphones across various price points.
"5G accounts for a much larger share of global mobile connections than 3G or 4G did at the same point in their lifecycles. Momentum has been boosted by factors including innovative plans, video streaming services, rising 5G handset sales, and network coverage expansions," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer, GSMA. "In addition, the launch of 5G services in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa over the last year means that the technology is now available in every region of the world, so we are set to see more growth and more transformation for services."
Early network capability initiatives are underway to support the increasing number of innovative consumer and enterprise use cases across the 5G Era. These include the 5G utilisation of multiple sub-3GHz spectrum bands, 5G mmWave, 5G Advanced, and Private Networks.
GSMA Research Finds Mid-Band 5G Could Deliver $610B GDP Growth by 2030
This analysis shows the extent to which government policies that prioritise mid-band 5G spectrum can aid economic development strategies for the years ahead – a key area of focus for policymakers and regulators from around the world.
The new economic forecast predicts that by 2030, 5G spectrum in the 1-7 GHz mid-band range will drive nearly 65% of the overall $960 billion socio-economic value created by 5G.
“Delivering on the 5G promise will require global, regional, and local action from governments and industry to make enough mid-band spectrum available. An average of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum is needed, and there is work to get there. As the world seeks to deliver a new phase of economic development, government planning for 5G expansion is crucial,” said the GSMA’s Head of Spectrum, Luciana Camargos.
The study also warns of the potential negative economic impact of insufficient spectrum availability, showing that up to $360 billion of GDP growth could be lost. If spectrum is constrained to current levels as demand for services grows, increased network congestion and deployment costs will stifle 5G. Network quality and speed will suffer, limiting 5G adoption and its economic impact.
5G will spur innovation across economic sectors
The research shows that 75% of the benefits of mid-band 5G will be through the core 5G use cases of enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and fixed wireless access (FWA) with fibre-like speeds.
Services, including healthcare and education, and manufacturing are expected to yield the highest portion of the economic benefit, with the manufacturing sector accounting for almost 40% of the growth. Public administration, including smart cities, is also expected to impact the economy significantly.
The global impact of mid-band 5G
Around the world, the analysis finds that the impact of mid-band 5G on regional economic growth will be closely aligned. For example, CIS and Latin America will lead with over 0.5% of GDP generated by mid-band 5G in 2030. Meanwhile, Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe will see 0.38% in GDP growth, and North America with 0.36% in GDP growth.
Early adopter 5G markets in Asia Pacific, the Americas, and Europe will account for the most significant share of total global contribution to GDP. The biggest economies and populations will have the largest impact, with East Asia and the Pacific forecast to contribute $218 billion to global GDP.
The GSMA’s recommended spectrum approach
Government and industry working together– through WRC-23 and in national processes – to deliver spectrum for fast, affordable services and ensure that 5G can power a new phase of economic growth.
Making an average of 2 GHz of mid-band spectrum available for licensed 5G. The most developed communications markets are starting to move closer to this goal, but there is still a shortfall of 1 GHz in many cases.
Fulfilling mid-band needs in harmonised ranges including 3.5 GHz, 4.8 GHz, and 6 GHz to deliver economies of scale and lower broadband costs.
The GSMA 5G Transformation Hub goes live
The GSMA 5G Transformation Hub is designed to promote adoption and communicate the value 5G delivers for operators, businesses, and governments, and it already includes the following case studies:
Live Entertainment: Verizon is using 5G mmWave to deliver optimised fan experiences inside NFL stadiums across the US.
Infrastructure: Enabling 5G efficient drone inspection of bridges and major structures with Skydio.
Manufacturing: Making manufacturing more productive with intelligent 5G networked robotics with Thundercomm in China.
Transportation: South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) is entertaining commuters in Seoul with 4K TV on the move, delivered by 5G mmWave.
Construction: Supporting safe and efficient construction in Singapore with 5G from Singtel.
Smart cities: Motov's use of 5G for monitoring the social costs of air pollution and traffic hazards.
Energy: Improving the performance of wind farm technology with 5G and Vayu AI.
The GSMA is a global organization unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organizations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today's biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world's largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.