Mobile operators in Asia are set to invest $370 billion for building-out 5G networks between 2018 and 2025, according to the latest GSMA report.
There will be 24 5G markets in Asia Pacific by 2025. 5G will contribute almost $900 billion to the region’s economy over the next 15 years.
China is currently testing 5G across all major cities and provinces, including Shanghai, ahead of commercial launches next year. 28 percent of China’s mobile connections will be running on 5G networks by 2025, accounting for about a third of all 5G connections globally by this point.
Mobile operators are forecast to invest $574 billion towards Capex on new networks between 2018 and 2025, including $370 billion on new 5G networks. China alone is forecast to invest $184 billion on 5G by 2025.
The GSMA report did not mention about the 5G investment in China during the forecast period. Telecom operators such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Reliance Jio are gearing up to make investment in 5G networks in select parts of the country.
4G, which accounts for 52 percent of connections in 2018, will grow to account for more than two-thirds of regional connections by 2025. 18 percent of connections will be running on 5G networks by this point.
More than four in five mobile connections in Asia will be 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 representing 72 percent 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 $1.6 trillion of economic value, equivalent to 5.3 percent of regional GDP. This contribution is forecast to surpass $1.9 trillion by 2023.
Asia Pacific’s mobile ecosystem directly and indirectly employs more than 18 million people, and last year contributed $165 billion in public sector funding via general taxation (excluding regulatory and spectrum fees).