MWC 2017: GSMA – 5G connections to exceed 1bn by 2025


Leading industry figures reveal their excitement for future of mobile industry

The GSMA has predicted that there will be around 1.1 billion 5G connections by 2025, describing it as a “giant step forward in the global race to digitise economies and societies”.

This forecast was revealed by the organisation’s director general Mats Granryd during the opening keynote session of Mobile World Congress entitled: ‘Mobile: The Next Element’.

It saw Telefonica chairman and CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete Lopez, SoftBank founder and chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son, KT Corporation chairman and CEO Chang-Gyu Hwang and Bharti Enterprises founder and chair- man Sunil Bharti Mittal, who is also chairman of the GSMA, presenting to hundreds of people about the current progress and future of the mobile industry.

Granryd revealed the findings of the GSMA’s ‘The 5G Era: Age of Boundless Connectivity and Intelligent Automation’ report, which was released on the opening morning of MWC on February 27.

Currently, there are eight billion mobile connections globally, with 20 per cent of them running on 4G networks. This is expected t0 rise to 3.7 billion by 2020.

Mobile revolutions

Granryd, who described 5G as “much more than a generational change”, said the GSMA expects the technology to also connect and support up to one million connected devices per square kilometre in major cities.

Covering the industry as a whole, the report revealed that some 4.8 billion individuals globally are connected and by 2020 expects this to rise by a further 900 million to 5.7 billion, which he described as “astonishing numbers”.

Last year, the telecoms industry created $3.3 trillion of economic value, accounting for 4.4 per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with mobile operators expected to invest $700 billion in CAPEX over the next four years. Concluding, he added that

the industry is employing almost 29 million people, both directly and indirectly, and last year contributed around $450 billion to public funding, which doesn’t include what was spent in any spectrum auctions.

Generational change

“While there is still much work to be done on 4G in terms of building out the capacity of networks, we are already at the cusp of the 5G era,” he said.

“5G is much more than a generational change – it is a giant step forward in the global race to digitise economies and societies. It will drive new valuable services and position the mobile industry at the very heart of this digital transformation.

“At the core of this, there will be hundreds of billions of connections, sensing and connecting key information about their environment and allowing the digital economy to spread into every aspect of our lives.

“I hope this paints a vision of the 5G future where mobile is instrumental in transforming industries and enabling an exciting new world of digital services. Through this, we will connect everyone and everything to a better future.”