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GSMA Study: 5G to account for 15% of global mobile industry by 2025

Feb. 26, 2019
Mobile economy valued at $3.9 trillion as 5G ushers in era of intelligent connectivity

GSMA—an association representing the worldwide mobile communications industry—released a new report Monday at Mobile World Congress Barcelona, which included the stat that 5G is on track to account for 15% of total global mobile connection by 2025 as the number of 5G network launches and compatible devices ramps up this year.

GSMA's press release Monday said that a further 16 major markets worldwide will switch on commercial 5G networks during 2019, following the initial 5G launches in the United States and South Korea last year. GSMA calculates that mobile operators worldwide are currently investing about $160 billion per year on expanding and upgrading their networks, despite regulatory and competitive pressures.

“The arrival of 5G forms a major part of the world’s move towards an era of Intelligent Connectivity, which alongside developments in the Internet of Things, big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to be a key driver of economic growth over the coming years,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “While 5G will transform businesses and provide an array of exciting new services, mobile technology is also helping to close the connectivity gap. We will connect more than a billion new people to the mobile internet over the next few years, spurring adoption of mobile-based tools and solutions in areas such as agriculture, education and healthcare, which will improve livelihoods of people around the world.”

GSMA summarized key findings of the new report—'The Mobile Economy 2019'—to include:

  • The number of 5G connections will reach 1.4 billion by 2025—15% of the global total1. By this point, 5G is forecast to account for around 30% of connections in markets such as China and Europe, and around half of the total in the US.
  • 4G will continue to see strong growth over this period, accounting for almost 60% of global connections by 2025—up from 43% last year
  • The number of global IoT connections will triple to 25 billion by 2025, while global IoT revenue will quadruple to $1.1 trillion
  • One billion new unique mobile subscribers2 have been added in the four years since 2013, bringing the total to 5.1 billion by the end of 2018, representing about two-thirds of the global population
  • More than 700 million new subscribers are forecast to be added over the next seven years, about a quarter of these coming from India alone
  • An additional 1.4 billion people will start using the mobile internet over the next seven years, bringing the total number of mobile internet subscribers globally to 5 billion by 2025 (more than 60% of the population).

The new report states that mobile technologies and services generated 4.6% of global GDP in 2018, a contribution that amounted to $3.9 trillion of economic value added3.GSMA forecasts this contribution to grow to $4.8 trillion (4.8% of GDP) by 2023 as countries around the globe increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by increased take-up of mobile services. The report states that the mobile ecosystem also supported almost 32 million jobs in 2018 (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with more than $500 billion raised through general taxation.

Looking further ahead, GSMA  forecasts that 5G will contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy over the next 15 years, with key sectors such as manufacturing, utilities, and professional and financial services benefitting the most from the new technology.

GSMA's footnotes Monday included:

1 It is forecast that there will be 9.2 billion SIM connections by 2025, excluding cellular IoT.

2 A unique mobile subscriber represents an individual that can account for multiple SIM connections

3 GDP contribution comprises mobile operators (0.8% of GDP); related industries (0.5%); indirect contribution (0.6%); and productivity improvements (2.7%).

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