Telecoms firm Ericsson said it has lifted its forecasts for 5G uptake over the next five years by almost 27 per cent due to rapid early enthusiasm for the next-generation network.
In a previous report the Swedish company had forecast 1.5bn subscriptions by the end of 2024.
“5G is definitely taking off and at a rapid pace,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson executive vice president and head of networks. “This reflects the service providers’ and consumers’ enthusiasm for the technology.”
The findings come weeks after mobile operator EE switched on the UK’s first 5G network in London and five other cities.
Total mobile data traffic continued to soar globally in the first quarter, rising 82 per cent year-on-year, according to the report.
The growing demand for data among consumers, which will be boosted by the rise of the Internet of Things, comes despite a downturn in the global smartphone market.
Rising prices and a lack of significant new technology mean customers are opting to shun upgrades and hold on to their devices for longer.
However, manufacturers could be given a boost as mobile phone users invest in new 5G-enabled devices to take advantage of the high-speed network.
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Some 5G-enabled smartphones all already available in the UK, with further devices expected to hit the market before the end of the year.