Forecast: 1.3bn 5G connections by YE22
March 24, 2022
After three full years of growth, global wireless 5G adoption has reached the rapid acceleration phase, having exceeded a half-billion connections by the end of 2021 and forecast to reach 1.3 billion by the end of this year according to data from Omdia, reports 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas.
“We are now out of the opening stages of this generation of wireless cellular technology, as 5G is rapidly getting into the hands of consumers and businesses, who are finding innovative new ways to use mobile connectivity,” Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas said.
According to the most recent data from Omdia, the world added 303 million 5G connections year over year, representing a 139 per cent increase from 218 million to 521 million, and sequentially 19 per cent growth quarter over quarter from 437 million in Q3 2021 to 521 million in Q4 2021. According to Omdia’s forecast, 5G is expected to double to 1.3 billion connections in 2022, nearly double again in 2023 to 2 billion connections, and reach 4.8 billion by the end of 2026. Of that, 516 million is expected to come from North America and 301 million from Latin America and the Caribbean.
By region, North America had a total of 72 million 5G connections by the end of 2021, which is an addition of 54 million 5G connections for the year – a gain of 292 per cent year over year. Additionally, the region had 514 million LTE connections by the end 2021, which represents near full market maturity.
“During 2021 5G coverage really expanded, making 5G an option for a lot more people,” advises Omdia’s Principal Analyst Kristin Paulin. “The major operators in the US have more than 70 per cent coverage. In Canada, 5G really expanded for the three major operators during 2021, with each ending the year with 70 per cent coverage. This is compared to between 24 per cent and 45 per cent coverage, depending on the operator, at the same time last year.”
Although 301 million 5G connections are expected for Latin America in the Caribbean by 2026, 4G LTE remains the dominant wireless cellular technology in the region today with 495 million connections. That represents 17 percent annual growth with the addition of 72.6 million new LTE subscriptions year over year. Omdia expects 4G LTE growth will remain strong in Latin America and the Caribbean through 2022 with the addition of 43.2 million new 4G LTE connections, as 5G adoption begins to overtake 4G LTE.
“5G deployments continue to make progress in Latin America as new spectrum is allocated by regulators,” observes Jose Otero, Vice President of Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas. “The new generation of mobile communications offers many technological features that will be welcomed by citizens of the region as 5G coverage increases. Overall, 4G LTE is providing excellent mobile broadband during the difficult time of the pandemic that has emphasised the importance of reliable communications services.”
Overall, the number of 5G commercial networks has reached 216, according to data from TeleGeography and 5G Americas. That number is expected to reach 330 by the end of 2022 and 352 by the end of 2024, representing strong 5G network investment growth in many regions throughout the world.
5G and 4G LTE network deployments:
- Global: 216
- North America: 12
- Caribbean and Latin America: 22
- Global: 698
- North America: 19
- Caribbean and Latin America: 127