By JIRAPAN BOONNOON
The world’s first nationwide 5G networks went live in South Korea earlier this year, and it is anticipated that 24 Asia Pacific markets will have launched 5G by 2025. It is forecast that the next generation of mobile technology will contribute almost US$900 billion to the region’s economy over the next 15 years.
Granryd said China is testing 5G across all major cities and provinces, including Shanghai, ahead of commercial launches next year. It is forecast that 28 per cent of China’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, accounting for about a third of all 5G connections globally by that time.
“5G will of course bring faster, richer and more immersive entertainment, that will be critical to driving revenue growth across the industry,” said Granryd.
“Although 4G still has plenty of headroom for growth across Asia, operators in the region are now investing billions in building-out advanced 5G networks that are facilitating an array of new services for consumers, transforming industry and manufacturing, and driving economic growth.
“As 5G becomes a reality, we call on governments and regulators in the region to actively shape a favourable business environment that encourages investment in advanced networks and allows operators to extend next-generation digital services to all Asia’s citizens.”
A report, “The Mobile Economy, Asia Pacific 2019” by GSMA Intelligence, forecasts that mobile operators will invest US$574 billion (capital expenditure) on new networks between 2018 and 2025, with US$370 billion to be spent on 5G networks. China alone is forecast to invest US$184 billion on 5G by 2025.
Meanwhile, 4G became the most dominant mobile technology in Asia in 2018 (52 per cent of connections), and will grow to account for more than two-thirds of regional connections by 2025. Around 18 per cent of connections will be running on 5G networks by this point.
Granryd said more than four in five mobile connections in Asia will be on smartphones by 2025, up from 61 per cent in 2018.
There were 2.8 billion unique mobile subscribers in Asia at the end of 2018, equivalent to 67 per cent of the region’s population. The number of subscribers is forecast to increase to 3.1 billion by 2025 (72 per cent of the population), though the growth rate is slowing as many key markets approach saturation.
Almost all new subscribers to be added in the region between 2018 to 2025 will come from six countries: India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Last year, mobile technologies and services in Asia Pacific generated US$1.6 trillion of economic value, equivalent to 5.3 per cent of regional GDP. This contribution is forecast to surpass US$1.9 trillion by 2023.
Julian Gorman, head of Asia Pacific at GSMA said that in 2025 around 1.4 billion people around the world will be connected or subscribed with 5G connections and around 50 per cent of the total subscribers will be in China.
For Thailand, 5G will create high potential growth in the country and add to the digital economy in industries such as healthcare, education, smart agricultural and manufacturing. The 5G network will able to improve efficiency of business and a create 5G ecosystem for the country as a whole.
Yang Chaobin, Huawei 5G product line president, said that 5G is on the fast track for commercial use. Huawei has launched commercial 5G networks in a couple of countries, including South Korea, the UK, and Switzerland. Huawei's commercial 5G networks offer speeds 10 times faster than those of 4G networks, causing user traffic to increase exponentially.
Huawei has invested US$4 billion in 5G over the past decade, and has developed leading 5G capabilities in every aspect, from chipsets and products to networking.