According to Omdia, a market analyst firm, the number of 5G connections globally is expected to reach 5.9 billion by the end of 2027, which is almost a fourfold increase from the 1.5 billion connections at the end of 2022. The report also predicts that two billion 5G connections will be made in 2023.

Omdia’s findings are backed up by Ericsson’s recent report, which stated that one billion wireless subscribers will be connected to 5G by the end of 2022, and that 5G is set to replace 4G as the reigning connectivity standard.

In 2022, there were 455 million new 5G connections worldwide, reflecting a 14% sequential quarterly growth, from 922 million in Q3 to 1.05 billion in Q4. North America led the way with 119 million 5G connections, in addition to its 507 million LTE connections. Omdia projects that around 215 million 5G connections will come from North America in 2023, as the sale of 5G-powered phones continues to rise.

Telecom operators are driving the adoption of 5G with lower prices and smartphone promotions, including some free smartphone deals, according to Kristin Paulin, Principal Analyst at Omdia. She stated that the wide 5G coverage in North America makes it likely that people will be in a 5G service area.

Omdia’s report also stated that the number of 5G commercial networks globally has reached 259, with the industry trade organization expecting 390 by the end of 2023. By the end of 2025, the number of 5G networks is predicted to increase to more than 400.

While the growth of 5G is significant, it comes with a caveat. Ericsson’s report predicts that carriers may charge a premium for faster speeds, with 25% of global carriers charging a premium for 5G services over their 4G service. In the US, all three major wireless carriers include 5G connectivity on all of their unlimited data plans, but Verizon requires a “premium” unlimited plan to access mid-band 5G.

In the UK and the US, 44% and 29% of mobile phone users, respectively, stated that they do not need the latest technology, according to a recent CCS Insight study. However, with 60% of all phones sold in Western Europe and North America expected to support 5G connectivity in 2021, growing to 85% in 2024, it is clear that 5G is becoming increasingly ubiquitous.

The rise in 5G connectivity can be attributed to the strong promotion of the technology by mobile operators in China. Over half of the new smartphones sold in China in the past three months feature 5G support, with 170 million mobile phones in China projected to be connected to 5G networks by the end of 2020.

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