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Transformation through mobility
In a matter of 12 months, the North American service providers have turned the globe upside down.
Even though other countries may have had a head start on early 5G deployments, the first commercial 5G deployments at scale are happening in North America. All major service providers in the U.S. and Canada, are moving aggressively to launch 5G commercially.
This has wide regional ramifications, as there are great economic benefits in taking advantage of a new wireless technology first, highlighted by the boom in the app economy in North America after its early adoption of 4G.
But there are also incredibly high stakes for the individual service providers. Looking back at 4G, we studied 30 early adopters worldwide, and between 2012 and 2016, they achieved yearly revenue growth of 10 percent through ARPU and market share gains. In the 15 largest markets worldwide, more than 70 percent of the service providers that launched LTE first have further increased and sustained their total market share since their 4G launch.
We believe 5G holds even more potential than 4G. The launch of 5G will spark an unprecedented wave of innovation, based on a highly distributed service provider edge network. The wireless network will become the foundation for new service categories demanding near real-time network responsiveness, ultra-broadband speeds, integrity, security and reliability – think autonomous cars, remote surgery, AR/VR shopping, or ambulance drones.
We see enhanced mobile broadband as the first large-scale global use case for 5G, particularly in North America. Data traffic in North America is already at 7 Gbps/user, with a predicted 8x increase by 2023. 5G networks will enable 10 times lower cost per gigabyte than current 4G networks.
Given the experience with 4G and the early adopter nature of North American subscribers, we expect 5G subscriptions to reach the 150 million-mark, accounting for 48 percent of all mobile subscriptions in North America by the end of 2023 (June 2018 Mobility Report).
Encouraged by the basic use case of enhanced mobile broadband, leading service providers across North America are not holding back as they try to quantify specific new 5G business cases. There is an industry-wide conviction that once the new network capabilities are in place, the enormous investment capacity and power of innovation in North America will rapidly drive massive, web scale innovation of new types of services and applications.
That determination is grounded in some fundamental facts – 5G and the distributed cloud put the wireless network back in the center of the value chain, venture capital across North America is at an all-time high, with entrepreneurs and industries eager to innovate, disrupt and transform, creating 100’s of billions in incremental value for consumers and enterprises.
CTIA estimates the economic and societal impact of deploying 5G will include the creation of more than three million new jobs, boosting U.S. GDP by USD 500 billion, supported by a projected $275 billion in network infrastructure investment.
Over the past year, we have been working closely with all the major service providers in the U.S. and Canada on their early 5G activities.
Let’s look at some of our highlights over the past twelve months:
5G networks will certainly transform and enable new consumer services, but the most significant incremental value 5G offers is the digital and wireless transformation powering the 4th industrial revolution. Ericsson has partnered with 22 industrial partners and more than 45 academic institutions to study and pilot use cases across mining, transport, manufacturing, medical applications and much more.
With 5G momentum picking up in North America, we are also working to build out the foundational capabilities with our service providers customers and ecosystem partners. Highlights include:
5G and IoT will drive significant opportunities for consumers and industries alike, but it will put new requirements on the networks of the future to enable the required end-to-end performance, security, integrity and reliability, while at the same supporting new business and operating models.
We promise to decode that technical complexity. Making the complex simple has always been at the core of our business – listening to our customers’ customers and addressing their needs by working in close collaboration every day to consistently enable their success.
Ericsson has further increased our investments in R&D, to secure our technology leadership in the areas where we have decided to focus. Our deep technology expertise, strong culture of innovation and strategic partnerships with leading service providers and industrial players has allowed us to take the lead in the early 5G standardization efforts. This includes our landmark 5G patent application, which was the largest ever in our industry in terms of inventors. Our customers benefit from our world-leading patent portfolio of more than 42,000 patents.
In the U.S. and Canada, we rely on our more than 10,000 employees to step up and deliver the best solutions for each customer to improve their operating efficiencies, enhance their customer experience and extend their services offering.
There are a lot of people and industries counting on 5G, which means pressure on Ericsson and our customers to rapidly address current and emerging needs.
Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley are counting on getting their hands on the new capabilities. Venture capitalists are lined up, eager to fund promising new businesses. You don’t want to be standing in the way, when the economic forces of North America are unleashed. It’s like betting on gravity not to kick in. Time to step up and support the race to 5G!
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