5G will cover roughly 1.5 billion people by 2024, researchers say


Wang Qiming/Techhnews

The next generation of wireless technology is speeding your way.

5G will reach more than 40 percent of the world’s population and cover 1.5 billion people by the end of 2024, according to the latest mobility report from telecommunications company Ericsson, which says its networks currently carry nearly half the world’s mobile traffic. The report came out Tuesday.

5G, short for fifth-generation network technology, promises a massive boost in speed and responsiveness. Industry watchers expect the first 5G smartphones to come out in the first half of next year.

Researchers forecast that mobile data consumption will reach more than 21GB per month by 2024, which is nearly four times the consumption in 2018. 5G networks will carry 25 percent of global mobile data traffic, according to Ericsson. North America and North East Asia are expected to lead the 5G rollout, followed by Western Europe.

In addition, the number of internet-connected devices — the gadgets that make up the “internet of things” — is expected to reach 4.1 billion in 2024. Ericsson predicted in June that thanks to the launch of 5G networks, the market for IoT devices will grow to 3.5 billion units by 2023, five times the 700 million IoT devices currently in use.

“The biggest change since the June report is the increase in mobile data traffic that has happened in 2018. We are now back at Year over Year growth numbers that we have not seen since 2013,” said Patrik Cerwall, head of strategic marketing at Ericsson and author of the report, in an email statement. “As 5G hits the market we should note that it comes to a market that already is familiar with smartphones and have almost 6 billion unique users. 5G is therefore expected to reach global adoption on a scale not seen before.”

First published on Nov. 27, 9:44 a.m. PT.

Updates on 2:03 p.m. PT: Adds Patrik Cerwall statement. 

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