Ericsson increases 5G forecast as data demand surges

Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in increased demand due to widespread remote working

Ericsson sign on a building

Networking and telecommunications company Ericsson has raised its forecast for 5G subscriptions globally from 2.6 billion to around 2.8 billion by 2025.

This increased prediction is a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, Ericsson says, which has resulted in a surge in data demand due to a significant increase in people working from home.

Speaking at the company's virtual Ericsson Unboxed event, Patrik Cerwall, executive editor of Ericsson Mobility Report, said there had been a 20 per cent jump in data traffic in a number of markets since the pandemic began. 

Ericsson's revised forecast comes after a report by Assembly Research claimed that if the UK sticks to its pledge to make the country fully 5G and full-fibre connected by 2025, this could provide a £51.4bn boost to the economy in the next five years, and £68.8bn boost by 2030.

However, the UK’s 5G rollout has been marred with difficulties. Earlier this year, the technology caused a rift in the UK’s relations with China, following the decision to cap Huawei’s involvement in the infrastructure at 30%.

Moreover, the untimely coincidence of the coronavirus pandemic and the 5G rollout caused many to believe that COVID-19 is linked to the technology. This had resulted in adverse reactions from arson attacks to death threats.

Last month, Ericsson announced a partnership with BT, which will see supply BT’s Network Cloud with a dual-mode 5G Core solution. The solution aims to incorporate automation, network orchestration, continuous delivery, and integration processes into BT’s existing customer experience management platforms, with the help of Ericsson Expert Analytics and built-in software probes. 

BT CTIO Howard Watson said: “An agile, cloud-native core infrastructure is at the heart of our ambition to enable the next generation of exciting 5G services for our customers and give the UK the world-class digital infrastructure it needs to win in the future global economy.”

Outside of the UK, Ericsson also announced that its Spectrum Sharing and 5G Core solutions were chosen to be “at the heart of” the Netherlands’ 5G rollout. Ericsson was also selected by Greece’s largest mobile communications service provider COSMOTE to be its sole 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) vendor, with Finland and Hungary also making the decision to include Ericsson in their 5G expansion.

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