5G poised to overtake 4G in SE Asia, Oceania by 2027

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, according to Ericsson.

The June 2022 edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report shows that globally, 5G mobile subscriptions are anticipated to surpass 1 billion and 4.4 billion by the end of 2022 and 2027.

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. 

In these regions, as more network deployments take place over the next few years, 5G mobile subscriptions are expected to grow at a CAGR of 83%, reaching 570 million by end 2027. This figure will almost equal the total regional number of 4G subscriptions at that time.

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 pace as communications service providers prepare innovation to address the business opportunities beyond enhanced mobile broadband. 

There are about 15 commercial 5G mobile networks in the SEA and Oceania region. Early last year, Singtel launched Singapore’s first 5G Standalone (SA) network.

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%) globally between 2021 and 2027. This is also 5GB higher than the estimated global average (40GB) in 2027.

Total mobile data traffic in SEA and Oceania is expected to grow by a factor of around six between 2021 and 2027, driven by continued strong growth in 4G subscriptions and increasing 5G subscription uptake in several markets.

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

Wider 5G adoption and new extended reality services are expected to drive traffic growth in the latter part of the forecast period up to 2027.

Globally, 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.

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 some 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.