Increased adoption of 5G technology could lead to a €42bn economic boost for Ireland, a new forecast from Ericsson asserts.

Telecoms equipment giant Ericsson said it expects the number of 5G subscriptions globally to top 190m by the end of 2020 and 2.8bn by the end of 2025.

For Ireland, 5G connectivity is tipped to add as much as €42bn to Ireland’s GDP by 2030.

“This pandemic has highlighted the true value of connectivity and has shown just how important leading digital infrastructure is to the future of Ireland”

In the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report which looks at projections for data traffic growth and regional subscriptions, including Ireland, the company highlighted the vital role that mobile and broadband networks played in keeping societies running and families connected during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The spread of Covid-19 has prompted people all over the world to change their daily lives and, in many cases, work or study from home,” said Fredrik Jejdling, Executive Vice President and Head of Networks, Ericsson.

“This has led to a rapid shift of network traffic from business to residential areas. The latest Ericsson Mobility Report shows that mobile and fixed networks are increasingly playing an even bigger part of critical national infrastructure.”

Ireland is the home of 5G

Ireland was in fact one of the earliest countries to trial and deploy 5G in Ireland with players like Vodafone in the vanguard of testing the technology in recent years, launching the first 5G network in Ireland last August.

As one of the first countries to launch 5G and with more than 1,000 employees building next generation network technology at Ericsson’s research and development centre in Athlone, John Griffin, head of Ericsson Ireland, believes Ireland is primed to take a leading role in 5G growth and deliver a sizeable boost to the national economy.

“This pandemic has highlighted the true value of connectivity and has shown just how important leading digital infrastructure is to the future of Ireland,” Griffin said.

“As a platform for innovation, 5G presents a great opportunity to not only improve critical national infrastructure but also transform new industries with increases in productivity and efficiency. The potential for 5G is very exciting and it could add as much as €42bn to Ireland’s GDP by 2030, an important consideration in the country’s economic recovery post Covid-19,” he said.

Greater role for fixed wireless access

In a recent study conducted by Ericsson Consumer Lab, 83pc of the respondents from 11 countries claim that ICT helped them a lot to cope with the lockdown. The results show an increased adoption and usage of ICT services, such as e-learning and wellness apps, that have helped consumers adapt to new realities, underpinned by connectivity.

Looking ahead, while 57pc say they will save money for financial security, one-third plan to invest in 5G and an improved broadband at home to be better prepared for a potential second wave of COVID-19.

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connections are forecast to reach nearly 160m by end of 2025 – totalling about 25pc of global mobile network data traffic.

At the end of 2019, global FWA data traffic was estimated to have been around 15 percent of the global total. It is now projected to grow nearly 8 fold to reach 53 exabytes in 2025, representing 25 percent of the global total mobile network data traffic.

FWA delivered over 4G or 5G is an increasingly cost-efficient alternative for providing broadband and several factors are driving the FWA market: demand from consumers and businesses for digital services along with government-sponsored programs and subsidies.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 17 June, 2020

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