The Covid-19 pandemic has boosted the adoption of smartphones and the Internet worldwide. People now want a better smartphone with high-speed Internet for all digital activities such as online payment, mobile gaming, social media, ticket booking, video conferencing during the lockdown. Therefore, in order to capitalize on the situation, many mobile companies such as Apple, Samsung, have launched 5G-capable devices. While the 4G subscriptions still account for more than 50% of total mobile subscriptions as of Q2 2021, 5G is slowly closing the gap.
According to the latest report from Ericsson, the total number of mobile subscriptions worldwide reached 8.1 billion in Q2 2021, with a net addition of 50 million subscriptions during the quarter.
The growth in mobile subscriptions was driven by China which added more than 13 million subscriptions during the quarter. This is followed by Indonesia and the US, which have net additions of over 5 million and 3 million subscriptions, respectively.
India, Nepal, and Bhutan have a combined total of 1,115 million mobile subscriptions, with a net addition of more than 2 million during the second quarter of 2021.
Number Of 5G Mobile Subscriptions Worldwide
Interestingly, Q2 2021 was the first time in history when the net addition in 5G subscriptions surpassed 4G.
In Q2 2021, the number of 5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device totaled 380 million, with a net addition of 84 million during the quarter. Ericsson estimates close to 580 million 5G mobile subscriptions by the end of 2021.
In contrast, the number of 4G subscriptions increased by 71 million during the quarter, reaching 4.8 billion. The mobile subscriptions running on the 4G network accounted for a whopping 59 percent of all mobile subscriptions worldwide.
In Q2 2020, there were approximately 80 million 5G subscriptions with a 5G-capable device, with 50 million added during the quarter. Ericsson forecasts there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions by 2023 and by the end of 2026, the figure will reach 3.5 billion, accounting for roughly 40 percent of all mobile subscriptions at that time.
Service providers continue to bet big on 5G technology. Globally, about 176 communications service providers have launched commercial 5G services.
Some other technologies have seen their subscriptions dwindle. During the second quarter, WCDMA/HSPA subscriptions fell by 46 million, while GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions fell by 52 million.