5G Southeast Asia

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5G to become the leading technology in Southeast Asia by 2028

  • 5G mobile subscriptions are expected to reach five billion globally by the end of 2028.
  • The number of 5G subscriptions in the Southeast Asia is projected to reach almost 30 million in 2022.
  • 5G to become the leading technology in terms of subscriptions in Southeast Asia by 2028, with a penetration rate of 48%.

The availability of 5G in Southeast Asia is variable. Countries like Singapore and Indonesia have already seen 5G deployed for some time and continue to innovate use cases for the public, and organizations.

Singapore is the first country in the world to have 5G available across almost the entire nation, while Indonesia has already launched the network on several major cities in the country. Bali for example is already looking at how 5G can be used beyond just network connectivity.

Unfortunately, a few other countries in Southeast Asia are still lagging in 5G. For all the hype made by Malaysia on the network, 5G adoption in the country is only now picking up after local telco companies finally agreed on the network provider. 5G in Vietnam is also slowly picking up the pace, despite the initial hype when the technology was first launched.

Interestingly, the November 2022 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report forecasts global fixed wireless access (FWA) connections to grow faster than previously expected. The report also states that global 5G subscriptions remain on track to top one billion by the end of this year, and five billion by the end of 2028, despite current and developing economic challenges in many parts of the world.

FWA – the wireless alternative to wireline broadband connectivity for homes and businesses – is one of the major early 5G use cases, particularly in regions with unserved or underserved broadband markets. Driven in part by accelerated FWA plans in India, and expected growth in other emerging markets, FWA is forecast to grow at 19 percent year-on-year through 2022-28, and top 300 million connections by the end of 2028.

More than three-quarters of communications service providers (CSPs) surveyed in more than 100 countries currently offer FWA services. Almost one-third of CSPs are offering FWA over 5G, compared to one-fifth a year ago. Almost 40% of the new 5G FWA launches in the past 12 months have been in emerging markets.

On 5G itself, about 110 million subscriptions were added globally between July-September 2022, bringing the total to about 870 million. As forecast in previous reports, 5G is still expected to reach one billion subscriptions by the end of this year – two years faster than 4G did following its launch.

The statistic reinforces 5G as the fastest-scaling mobile connectivity generation. Key drivers include the timely availability of devices from multiple vendors, with prices falling faster than for 4G, and China’s large early 5G deployments.

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Global 5G connectivity 

Outside of Southeast Asia, 5G growth is strong in both North America and Northeast Asia, with 5G subscription penetration in the regions expected to reach about 35 percent by the end of 2022. Globally, almost 230 CSPs have launched 5G services to date, with more than 700 5G smartphone models announced or launched commercially.

By the end of 2028, five billion 5G subscriptions are forecast globally, accounting for 55% of all subscriptions. In that same timeframe, 5G population coverage is projected to reach 85% while 5G networks are expected to carry around 70% of mobile traffic and account for all contemporary traffic growth.

According to Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, at Ericsson, Communications Service providers continue to deploy 5G and the momentum for Fixed Wireless Access is accelerating. Moreover, he explained that global mobile network data traffic is practically doubling every two years.

“As described in this edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, service providers are taking actions to deploy the latest generation of energy-efficient radio hardware and software, increase the use of renewable energy sources, and operate site infrastructure intelligently to reduce the environmental impact,” added Jejdling.

As for global 4G subscription numbers also continue to rise, growing by about 41 million between July and September 2022. Global 4G subscriptions are expected to reach a peak of about 5.2 billion around the end of this year.

Overall, the report states mobile subscriptions are expected to top 8.4 billion by the end of 2022, and 9.2 billion by the end of 2028. Most subscriptions are associated with smartphones. At the end of 2022, 6.6 billion smartphone subscriptions are estimated, accounting for about 79 percent of all mobile phone subscriptions.

5G in Southeast Asia 

In Southeast Asia and Oceania, it is expected that most major service providers would have launched commercial 5G services by the end of 2028. 5G subscriptions in the region are anticipated to reach around 620 million by end-2028, meaning 5G will become the leading technology in terms of subscriptions, with a penetration rate of 48%.

The number of 5G subscriptions in the region is projected to reach almost 30 million in 2022. 5G adoption and growing consumer usage of new immersive services are key factors for growing mobile data usage in the region. Mobile traffic per smartphone is expected to grow from 12.5GB per month in 2022 to 54 GB per month in 2028, a CAGR of almost 30%.

Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson, Singapore, stated, “Singapore is the first country in the world to reach 95% 5G SA coverage. 5G is providing the digital infrastructure needed for Industry 4.0 and will undoubtedly accelerate the country’s digitalization and growth even as it will enable new immersive experiences for consumers.”