Retail in Asia


5G mobile subscriptions in SEA and Oceania to hit 570 million by 2027

Telecommunications company Ericsson revealed that 5G subscriptions in Southeast Asia (SEA) and Oceania are expected to reach 570 million by the end of 2027 as more network deployments take place over the next few years. Globally, 5G mobile subscriptions are anticipated to surpass 1 billion and 4.4 billion by the end of 2022 and 2027, respectively.

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5G is scaling faster than any previous mobile generation, with 5G subscriptions hitting over 15 million at the end of 2021 in SEA and Oceania. Continuous network modernisation and coverage build-out have led several hundred million people to become new mobile broadband subscribers.

Deployment of 5G standalone networks is also picking up pace as communications service providers are innovatinge to address the business opportunities beyond enhanced mobile broadband. There are about 15 commercial 5G mobile networks in the SEA and Oceania region. Notably, the launch of Singapore’s first 5G Standalone (SA) network by Singtel in early last year.

Reports reveal that 5G outpaces its predecessor in global mobile subscriptions. Global 5G subscriptions grew by 70 million during the first quarter of 2022 and is expected to surpass 1 billion by the end of this year. 5G will become the dominant mobile access technology by subscriptions in 2027. Ericsson forecasts 4.4 billion 5G subscriptions globally by the end of 2027, accounting for 48 percent of all mobile subscriptions. 

5G subscription uptake is faster than that of 4G, which reached 1 billion subscriptions two years sooner than 4G did. Key factors include the timely availability of devices from vendors, with prices falling faster than for 4G, as well as China’s large, early 5G deployments. Meanwhile, subscriptions for 4G continue to increase, growing by 70 million during the first quarter of 2022 to around 4.9 billion. The technology is projected to peak at 5 billion this year, then decline to around 3.5 billion by the end of 2027 as subscribers migrate to 5G.

Besides, mobile data traffic per smartphone in SEA and Oceania has exceeded the global average. In SEA and Oceania, mobile data traffic per smartphone is expected to grow from 9.4GB per month to around 45GB per month in 2027 – recording the highest CAGR growth (30 percent) globally between 2021 and 2027. This is also 5GB higher than the estimated global average (40GB) in 2027.

Strong growth is predicted for the India region. The India region has witnessed tremendous growth as well. The current average data traffic per smartphone in the India region is the second highest globally (20GB) and is projected to surpass around 50GB per month in 2027 – a 16 percent CAGR between 2021 and 2027.

The report also unveils that 5G offerings pick up speed across the globe. There is an increased effort across the industry to differentiate 5G subscription offerings to provide additional value compared to 4G. Cloud gaming services have been exclusively launched alongside 5G packages by around 35 service providers so far. About one in five service providers have taken this approach further and have created specific connectivity packages targeting gaming users.

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Service-based options are also on the rise. During the early days of the pandemic, specific service-based connectivity packages, often labelled “work and education packs”, were offered in select markets. These packages typically offered discounted GB for a combination of video conferencing services, streaming, office software suites and web browsing. These packages have now become quite common, especially in markets with lower average income levels, including in SEA.