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Ericsson Mobility Report: More than half a billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2021

Available in English Indonesia
  • 5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device grew by 70 million during the first quarter of 2021 and are forecast to reach 580 million by the end of 2021
  • South East Asia and Oceania region will see data traffic per smartphone growing at the fastest rate globally by 2026. 5G subscriptions to touch 400 million by 2026
  • Greatest revenue boost for CSPs will still come from bundling digital services with 5G tariffs
Press release
Jun 24, 2021

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) projects that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day.

The forecast, which features in the 20th edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report,  predicts that 5G will become the fastest adopted mobile generation of all time, with 3.5 billion 5G subscriptions and 60 percent 5G population coverage forecast by the end of 2026.

However, the pace of adoption varies widely by region. Europe is off to a slower start and has continued to fall far behind China, the U.S., Korea, Japan and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) markets in the pace of 5G deployments.

5G is expected to surpass a billion subscriptions two years ahead of the 4G LTE timeline for the same milestone. Key factors behind that include China’s earlier commitment to 5G and the earlier availability and increasing affordability of commercial 5G devices. More than 300 5G smartphone models have already been announced or launched commercially.

This commercial 5G momentum is expected to continue in coming years, spurred by the enhanced role of connectivity as a key component of post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

North East Asia is expected to account for the largest share of 5G subscriptions by 2026, with an estimated 1.4 billion 5G subscriptions. North American and GCC markets are expected to account for the highest 5G subscription penetration, with 5G mobile subscriptions contributing 84 percent and 73 percent of all regional mobile subscriptions respectively.

Mobile subscriptions in the South east Asia and Oceania region have now exceeded 1.1 billion, with 5G subscriptions being just below the 2 million mark. 5G subscriptions are expected to grow strongly over the next few years with a forecast total of about 400 million by 2026.

South East Asia and Oceania region will also see data traffic per smartphone growing at the fastest rate globally, reaching 39GB/month by 2026 – a CAGR of 36 percent. Total mobile data traffic will grow accordingly, with a CAGR of 42 percent, reaching 39EB/month driven by continued growth in 4G subscriptions and 5G uptake in those markets where 5G has already been launched.

Jerry Soper, Country Head of Ericsson Indonesia, says: “The pandemic has led to a surge in demand for faster connection, as we now have to rely significantly on the internet to fulfil nearly all our business or personal needs remotely.  Today, high-quality fixed and mobile broadband have become critical national infrastructure. To address the rapid data growth and reduce cost per GB, we need to go beyond the existing technologies and transition, as seamlessly as possible, to the fifth-generation technology of mobile broadband connectivity. Fast, reliable and responsive, 5G will provide new transformative opportunities for Indonesia, and as a global ICT leader, Ericsson will continue to invest in 5G technology innovations and build a strong local 5G ecosystem alongside Indonesia’s Communication Service Providers and government to support digital transformation in the country.

5G likely to drive changes in smartphone user behaviour in Indonesia

 Today, mobile connectivity has become crucial to maintain business continuity when remote working or studying. According to Ericsson ConsumerLab, The Future Urban Reality, consumers in Indonesia have on average increased their time online by 3 hours per day, to reach a total of around 8h 45 min daily. Additionally, more than half of the time spent online happens on a smartphone. The ConsumerLab report Five Ways to a Better 5G – highlights accelerated consumer intent to upgrade to 5G despite the current Covid-19 pandemic, as well as new user behaviors triggered by 5G.

In Indonesia, there is already a strong foundation for 5G uptake. 19% of urban smartphone users own a 5G-ready smartphone, while around 5 million users could take up 5G in the first two years of commercial network being made available. 5G ready users are already spending 3 hours more per week on AR apps and 1.5 hour more per week on enhanced media compared to 4G users. By 2025, consumers in the country are expected to spend as many as 7.5 to 8 hours a week on cloud gaming and AR or VR apps.

The pandemic has also fuelled the need for better 5G indoors. With a high interest for 5G home broadband and 25% users finding Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) extremely relevant, FWA stands out as a significant opportunity for 5G in the country. 

Potential early adopters of 5G in Indonesia are essentially looking for three aspects: higher speed, trustworthy network and innovation. 4 in 5 expect higher 5G speeds while around 3 in 5 expect a secure network. At the same time, consumers are willing to pay 50% more for 5G plans bundled with digital services – for example, 70% think in-venue sports and concert experiences at 5G venues are worth paying for. In other words, the greatest revenue boost for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) will still come from bundling digital services with 5G tariffs, in order to convince consumers on the value of a 5G network platform. 

“Given the government’s focus on accelerating digital transformation in Indonesia, we at Ericsson, remain committed to supporting the government’s agenda to expand robust network coverage and capacity, whilst ensuring that Indonesia remains at the forefront of 5G development,” added Jerry.

 This edition of Ericsson Mobility Report includes four feature articles:
  • T-Mobile pursues a multi-band strategy
  • Businesses build 5G on Wireless WAN foundation
  • AI: enhancing customer experience in a complex 5G world
  • Planning in-building coverage for 5G: from rules of thumb to statistics and AI

Download the latest Ericsson Mobility Report here



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Ignes Messyta

Head of Communications Ericsson Indonesia




Ericsson enables communications service providers to capture the full value of connectivity. The company’s portfolio spans Networks, Digital Services, Managed Services, and Emerging Business. It is designed to help our customers go digital, increase efficiency and find new revenue streams. Ericsson’s innovation investments have delivered the benefits of mobility and mobile broadband to billions of people around the world. Ericsson stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm and on Nasdaq New York.