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5G customers predicted to hit 2.6 billion in 2025

Ericsson says 5G will cover almost half of all global mobile data traffic by then.

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Ericsson is predicting 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Around 2.6 billion customers will have subscriptions to 5G service by the end of 2025, according to a forecast by Ericsson on Monday. The new wireless networks will cover up to 65% of the global population by then, and handle 45% of all mobile data traffic, the networking giant predicted. That's quite a jump compared with two years ago when Ericsson predicted there would be 1 billion 5G subscriptions by 2023. Earlier this year, IHS Markit similarly predicted 1 billion by 2023.

5G, already available in some parts of the US by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, is being tapped by smartphones to provide faster speeds and more capacity.

"We predict 13 million 5G subscriptions by the end of this year," Ericsson said in its November mobility report. "A big share of these subscriptions is expected to be in China."

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Monthly data per phone is expected to increase from 7.2 gigabytes now to 24GB by the end of 2025, Ericsson added.

By 2025, Ericsson is expecting 74% of mobile users in North America to be on 5G; 56% in North East Asia; 55% in Western Europe; 25% in Central and Eastern Europe; 21% in South East Asia and Oceania; 11% in both India and Latin America; and 7% in Middle East and Africa.