Ericsson forecasts exponential growth in 5G subscriptions in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region from 22 million subscriptions in 2022 to 290 million subscriptions in 2028, accounting for 32% of the total subscriptions in 2028. 4G subscriptions in Mena are forecast to grow by 4% annually in the period between 2022 and 2028.

Meanwhile, 5G subscriptions will reach 1.5 billion globally by the end of 2023, the June 2023 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts.

This growth is a result of more countries issuing licenses and spectrum to enable 5G network investment.

More investment

Communication service providers are continuing to invest in 4G and are predicted to see subscriptions rise by 4% annually from 730 million in 2022 to 880 million in 2028, to account for 60% of the total subscriptions base in the region at the end of the period.

The focus is on 4G and 5G, driven by the exploration of service offerings requiring high bandwidth and low latency, and the availability of a wide range of devices at attractive price points. As a result, 2G subscriptions will experience a significant decline between 2022 and 2028, to account for around 5% of total subscriptions at the end of the period.

In the Mena region, data traffic growth will similarly be driven up as more subscribers are transitioned to 4G, and current momentum in 5G coverage increases uptake, in addition to attractive service offerings and more affordable smartphones.

Total data traffic is forecast to rise by 27% annually between 2022 and 2028 with monthly data usage per smartphone at 37 GB at the end of the period. This will be driven by growing uptake of data-intensive services. Various industrial use cases for 5G will also contribute to a rise in total data traffic.

Exponential growth

Håkan Cervell, Vice President and Head of Saudi Arabia and Egypt at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “The Ericsson Mobility Report provides a range of insights into the growth of data, voice traffic and mobile subscriptions, including annual forecast data updates. In the June 2023 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, we see exponential growth in the number of subscriptions in both the 4G and 5G technologies.

“Service providers are uniquely positioned to support the digital transformation of a wide range of industries with evolving cellular technologies, as they enable industries to become truly data driven, efficient and sustainable to further contribute to a better society.”

Worldwide, around 240 communications service providers (CSPs) have launched commercial 5G services and about 35 have deployed or launched 5G standalone (SA). The most common 5G services launched by service providers for consumers are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), gaming and some AR/VR-based services, such as training and education.

FWA connections

More than 100 CSPs, comprising about 40% of FWA service providers, currently offer FWA over 5G. By 2028, 5G is estimated to account for almost 80% of all FWA connections.

The June 2023 Ericsson Mobility Report includes four in-depth articles:

•Exploring how traffic patterns drive network evolution

•Exploring differentiated service with 5G networks

•AR uptake enabled by mobile networks

•Mobile quality of experience: Network readiness for new services.

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