Ericsson says there are now more than 700 million active 5G subscriptions worldwide, 70 million of them in the past three months alone.
In an update to its annual Ericsson Mobility Report, the company said subscriptions across all mobile technologies now total 8.3 billion, with 6.1 billion unique subscribers.
While this confirms that 5G is far from the dominant mobile technology, it does give an indication of the pace of global adoption.
Ericsson says 5G is scaling faster than any previous generation of mobile technology, with a quarter of the world’s population now having access. In 2027 this has increased to three quarters.
In the original report, Ericsson predicted that there would be one billion 5G subscriptions by the end of 2022 (opens in new tab).
So far, 218 operators have launched commercial 5G services, 24 of which are 5G standalone (5G SA) networks.
While all commercial 5G networks use new radio technologies, only the 5G SA infrastructure uses a cloud-based core that delivers the performance and low latency needed for some of the most revolutionary applications.
Total mobile data traffic is up 39% year over year, with the monthly amount now reaching 100 exabytes (EB).
Ericsson predicts that within five years 5G will account for 90% of all mobile subscriptions in North America, 82% in Western Europe and 74% in Northeast Asia.
The company’s forecast broadly matches a more optimistic recent analysis by CCS Insight, which claimed there would be 1.2 billion subscriptions by the end of 2022, with 4.5 billion in 2026.