According to the new report by Ericsson, in 2018, LTE (4G) will overtake GSM as the largest access technology by a number of subscriptions.
It says that the speed with which this technology has been rolled out and adopted is unprecedented and it has taken only five years for LTE to cover 2.5 billion people, compared to eight years for WCDMA/HSPA, or 3G.
It further said that in the first quarter of this year alone, 250 million new LTE subscriptions were added.
"While LTE uptake is driven by demand for improved user experience and faster networks, 5G deployment will also be driven by the need for enhanced mobile broadband capabilities as well as industry solutions for efficiency and automation. 5G will be the one network to support adiversity of use cases," it added
Ericsson also pointed out that more than half a billion 5G subscriptions are expected to be activated by 2022, not including IoT connections and 5G is then expected to cover around 15 percent of the world's population.
Niklas Heuveldop, Chief Strategy Officer and Head of Technology and Emerging Business, Ericsson, says, "4G subscriptions are increasing faster than ever, Voice over LTE uptake is accelerating and traffic growth has reached levels we have not seen since 2013."
"I am particularly excited to see the industry's major steps to progress network evolution, including the approval of the Non-Standalone 5G New Radio (NR) that will enable early 5G deployments. According to our forecast, we anticipate that this will lead to more than half a billion 5G subscriptions and a population coverage 15 percent by 2022."
Ericsson also analyzes that by the end of 2022, total smartphone mobile data traffic will have increased 9X, reaching 66 ExaBytes per month.