5G subscriptions are forecast to reach 20 million by 2022 in the Middle East and North East Africa, according to new research from tech giant Ericsson.
Its Mobility Report for the Middle East and North East Africa also said mobile subscriptions are growing steadily across the region.
They are expected to reach 690 million by the end of 2016, making up to 8 percent of the global market, and reaching 850 million mobile subscriptions by 2022.
The total number of GSM subscriptions will account to 60 percent of total mobile subscriptions by the end of 2016, it said, adding that mobile broadband subscriptions will surpass GSM-only subscriptions by 2018.
The report noted that LTE subscriptions are rapidly increasing to account for 7 percent of total mobile subscriptions by the end of 2016 and reaching out to 38 percent by 2022.
“As a result, there is a swift shift towards this technology across the region and LTE Network deployment projects are accelerating despite the extreme variations in Information and Communications Technology maturity levels,” the report said.
Rafiah Ibrahim, head of Ericsson Middle East and East Africa said: “Our latest Mobility Report reflects how digital technology is fast becoming part of everyday’s life in region Middle East and North East Africa. It highlights the rapid uptake of LTE deployments across the region, paving the way for 5G where we are expecting 20 million subscriptions by 2022.
“Today, we are working together with our partners to pave the way for 5G across the region and we are already seeing a great interest amongst operators launching 5G plug-ins on existing 4G networks.”
By 2022, the report anticipates that mobile data traffic will multiply 13-fold while average active smartphone data consumption per month will increase from 1.8GB in 2016 to 13GB in 2022.
These figures are driven by an increase in video consumption, social networking and app usage.
The report said that between 2016 and 2022, smartphone subscriptions will more than double in the region, from 230 million to 480 million. By the end of 2016, 33 percent of subscriptions will be smartphones and by the end of 2022, this figure will increase to 56 percent.