5G and kids: The Christmas wishlist

This Christmas, there will be over 13 million 5G devices in the world – and I’m pretty sure my daughter wants every one of them. When I think about it, she may get her hands on a 5G phone sooner than I expect. Find out why below

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It’s happened. This year, when I ask my daughter what she has on her Christmas wishlist, the answer is the same, over and over: a mobile phone. She’s 7.

Spoiler alert: she’s not getting a mobile phone. But I can remember asking a similar question to my mother when I was a kid—except I was 17 and it was for a beeper. Now, 18 years later, here we are: the first holiday season where that box under your tree could contain a whole new breed of mobile communication: a 5G mobile phone.

Time goes fast. Technology goes even faster. So, my daughter may not be getting a 5G phone, or any phone for that matter, for Christmas, but she and her friend did get a chance to show off their ‘phone expertise’ in the Ericsson Studio lately!


My favorite thing (that unfortunately we didn’t catch on video) was the kids’ complete misunderstanding of how to hold the handle and what to do with the cradle. It didn’t occur to me that this would happen but of course—these kids have never used a phone that needed a separate handle for the transmitter and receiver, nor have they ever had to hang up the phone in a cradle! After filming, Oskar told me that now he finally knew what it meant to ‘hang up’— that you actually had to hang something in a cradle!

13 million 5G devices this Christmas

5G phones may not be as foreign to us as the 1G phone was to the kids, and 5G phones are not available all around the world yet, of course—we still have no models here in Sweden. But even if you don’t find a 5G device under your tree this holiday season, you probably will quite soon. According to our latest Ericsson Mobility Report, shipments of 5G devices are projected to reach 13 million by the end the year, with a staggering 160 million units by the end of 2020.

In fact, we see that 5G will be the fastest developing mobile communication technology EVER.

By the end of 2025, we expect 5G to have 2.6 billion subscriptions covering up to 65 percent of the world’s population and generating 45 percent of the world’s total mobile data traffic.

Learn more in our 5G device outlook.

Dancing to K-pop with 5G

But if you want to see what a real 5G phone future is, you don’t have to look further than South Korea.

In some ways, South Korea is the home of 5G phones at the moment. It took the country only 69 days to reach the first one million people subscribed to a 5G mobile contract. That is much faster than the 80 days it took 4G to hit the same figure, back in 2011. And it’s not just their enthusiasm for the latest and greatest that has driven this; South Korea has also managed to deploy a lot of new exciting applications for 5G phone use, beyond just faster surfing.

Mobile service provider LG U+ is helping to drive this by investing 11.4 million USD to create entertainment content that would attract users to 5G services. One example is their augmented reality (AR) app that allows users to learn K-pop dances from their idols virtually.

“Other than learning K-pop dance steps, you can also do home workouts where you can turn the image 360 degrees to see the exact movement close up,” said the company’s AR content team manager Cha Yun-Jae.

“One important characteristic of AR content is that 600 megabytes of data are transferred for a one-minute video, to allow us to enjoy live streaming. 4G’s speed would be too slow for this.”

I can just imagine a whole generation of 5G kids dancing away with K-pop stars…but until then, I’ll have to keep disappointing my daughter when it comes to her wish for a phone. But just think, her first phone might be a 5G phone after all!

Read more

Explore our interactive map of live 5G networks.

See what happened when my colleagues and I recently tried to explain 5G to kids.

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