Europe has the second-highest mobile broadband uptake in the world at 85 percent, but could still fall behind China and America when it comes to 5G.
These figures are courtesy of Ericsson, who have recently published an in-depth analysis of mobile network data from around the world in their latest Mobility Report.
Almost 40 percent of mobile subscriptions in Europe are for 4G LTE standards, which is currently the fastest technology available. This 4G uptake is second only to North America, who are well ahead of the rest of the world with LTE subscriptions at 70 percent.
The slower and older 3G subscriptions currently cover around 50 percent of European mobile traffic, and 15 percent is still covered by the rather outdated 2G technology standards. However, the use of these mobile generations is about to drastically shift.
Ericsson predict that, by 2022, 4G LTE will cover 90 percent of all subscriptions in Europe, with 3G dropping to just 5 percent and 2G disappearing entirely.
Europe will also get to see a slight rollout of 5G by that time, which is estimated to cover 5 percent of mobile subscriptions.
North America and East Asia are going to see a much quicker 5G rollout than Europe.
5G development and investment has been very strong in America, and many leading operators are already beginning the pre-standardisation process for 5G technology to make sure they can rollout quickly and smoothly in many locations throughout North America.
In Asia, early deployments of 5G in China, Japan and South Korea are motivated by plans to launch 5G services in conjunction with upcoming international sporting events.
By 2022, 5G could account for 25 percent of all subscriptions in North America and 10 percent of all subscriptions in East Asia.
So far, Europe hasn’t been able to match the commitment to 5G seen elsewhere in the world, so we’re likely to see a comparatively slow rollout without further investment.