The number of 5G connections is set to soar within half a decade, according to a new report from market analysts CCS insight.
The new report, which analyzes the state of the 5G infrastructure, claims the world will have almost a quarter of a billion 5G connections by the end of this year, with that figure set to triple in 2021.
Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the industrial usage that is going to propel 5G in the years to come, but rather consumer usage. That means smartphones, but also internet-connected laptops, tablets and other consumer-oriented internet-connected technologies.
China will be the number one driver, with 5G adoption “defying previous expectations,” the report said. More than half of new smartphones sold in the past three months support 5G, mostly due to strong promotion from three of the country’s main mobile operators.
By the end of the year, the analysts expect more than 170 million 5G-enabled phones in China alone. Globally, 260 million units are expected to be sold this year, jumping to 630 million next year.
Based on the proportion of connections, South Korea is still the number one market, with a 12 percent penetration this August. About a third of all mobile data traffic in the country is now on 5G.
"Ironically, the weak overall demand for smartphones worldwide has been one of the triggers for 5G's success", observed Marina Koytcheva, VP of Forecasting at CCS Insight.
"This has sparked intense competition among manufacturers to get their 5G-enabled phones into the hands of consumers. Prices of phones featuring the latest 5G technology have slid rapidly, with devices from prominent brands already reaching £299 or €349 in Europe. We expect prices to drop further before the end of the year," Koytcheva concluded.