Ericsson projects that there will be 62 million 5G mobile subscriptions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by 2026. GCC 5G subscriptions will account for the second highest 5G market penetration globally and will constitute almost three-quarters of all mobile subscriptions in the region.
Additionally, 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million globally by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day.
The forecast, which features in the twentieth edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, enhances the expectation that 5G will become the fastest adopted mobile generation.
The report features breakout statistics from GCC markets for the first time where local digital initiatives are accelerating both technological innovation and expected 5G uptake. In 2019, GCC markets were among the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services.
Driven by UAE Vision 2021 and digital initiatives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) such as Smart Dubai Vision to make the city paperless and all government transactions 100 percent digitized, 5G is transforming the economic and social landscape of the nation.
As one of the key economies in the GCC, the UAE is supporting the use and growth of technologies such as 5G in a region where mobile data consumption is the highest in the world. According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, at the end of 2020, the GCC had the highest average monthly data traffic per smartphone in the world, exceeding 18GB.
Globally 5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone. Key factors behind that include China’s earlier commitment to 5G and the earlier availability and increasing affordability of commercial 5G devices. More than 300 5G smartphone models have already been announced or launched commercially.
This commercial 5G momentum is expected to continue in coming years, spurred by the enhanced role of connectivity as a key component of post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Wojciech Bajda, Vice President and Head of Gulf Council Countries at Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: “This is a landmark edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report. It is the twentieth edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report and the first to include specific GCC data. The report shows that we are in the next phase of 5G, with accelerating roll-outs and coverage expansion in pioneer markets such as the United Arab Emirates.”