Early push for 5G hints at mobile data usage boom in Southeast Asia

Photo by Kyle Hinkson

Heavy usage smartphone users in Singapore could consume as much as 200GB of monthly data over a 5G device by 2025, according to the latest Ericsson ConsumerLab study.

The report, which has specific insight on Singapore, is based on 1,500 interviews with smartphone users aged between 15 to 69 years old. 

Findings show that 53% of smartphone users in Singapore believe AR glasses to be the norm by 2025. By then, consumers are expected to spend an additional three hours watching videos on mobile devices, out of which one hour will be on augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) glasses.

In Singapore, the average smartphone user is ready to pay 52% premium for top selected 5G services. The consumer expectation in the country is that services such as smart home sensors and 5G TVs will be the top two applications to be made available in a 5G plan.

In another report, Ericsson forecasts that mobile data traffic in Southeast Asia and Oceania is expected to grow seven times from a total of 2.3 exabytes (EB) per month in 2018 to 16EB by 2024.

Data traffic per smartphone per month in this region will grow from 3.6GB to 17GB at a CAGR of 29%. About 12% of subscriptions in the region will be for 5G by the end of 2024.

“Mobile video traffic is fuelling the total data traffic as users are spending more time streaming and sharing video. This is expected to continue, as video is embedded in all types of online content,” said Martin Wiktorin, head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines.

“As 5G is gradually rolled out with compatible devices being successively introduced, streaming 360-degree videos and AR/VR will start to be a significant factor in mobile traffic growth,” Wiktorin said. 

Worldwide, 5G coverage is forecast to reach 45% of the world’s population by end of 2024. This could surge to 65%, as spectrum sharing technology enables 5G deployments on LTE frequency bands.

Communication service providers in several markets have switched on 5G following the launch of 5G-compatible smartphones. As 5G devices increasingly become available and more 5G networks go live, over 10 million 5G subscriptions are projected worldwide by the end of 2019.