The GSMA report forecasts North American 5G connections to account for 49% of global connections in 2025

Almost half of all mobile connections in North America are forecast to be running on 5G networks by 2025, according to a new report by the GSMA.

The GSMA forecasts a total of 200 million 5G mobile connections in the U.S. and Canada by 2025, representing 49% of total expected 5G connections at a global level. The study suggest that the region will migrate to 5G at a much faster rate than comparable markets in Europe and Asia.

“Mobile operators in North America are now making record levels of investment to upgrade networks and acquire spectrum as we commence the 5G era,” said Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA. “With nationwide mobile broadband coverage and high levels of smartphone ownership, consumers across the U.S. and Canada are highly engaged and early adopters of new types of digital service and content – and we therefore expect these two markets to migrate rapidly over to new 5G networks over the coming years.”

U.S. carriers are expected to launch the first commercial 5G networks by this year, with operators in Canada expected to launch 5G in 2020. Verizon recently announced it will launch 5G residential wireless broadband service on October 1. The carrier said that typical speeds will be around 300 Mbps, with peaks of up to 1 gigabit depending on conditions. Verizon’s said that its service will initially be available in parts of Houston, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana and Los Angeles and Sacramento, California.

AT&T is planning to deploy a mobile 5G offering in a dozen markets this year using gear based on the 3GPP 5G standard. Some of the targeted cities include Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Oklahoma City; Atlanta, Georgia; and Dallas and Waco, Texas.

The report also calculates that North America’s mobile ecosystem generated more than $830 billion in economic value last year, equivalent to 4% of the region’s GDP. By 2022, the mobile industry’s economic contribution is expected to increase 32%to $1.1 trillion, or 4.9% of GDP.

GSMA highlighted that 4G is currently the dominant mobile technology in North America, accounting for 70% of connections in 2017. The technology will continue to grow until next year, when 5G will begin to make an impact. The number of unique mobile subscribers in North America exceeded 300 million in 2017, representing 84% of the population. The subscriber base is forecast to increase to 328 million by 2025, lifting the penetration rate to 86%.

“North American mobile operators are offsetting the decline of many traditional mobile services by successfully unlocking new revenue opportunities in content, IoT and – very soon – 5G,” said Granryd. “The early 5G use cases in the region are likely to focus on the provision of enhanced mobile broadband offerings to the consumer market, while services in areas such as autonomous vehicles, industrial and vehicular automation, remote medical surgery, and advanced AR and VR, will gain scale soon after.”

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