At year-end 2017, there were 465 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe, equivalent to 85% of the population. The migration of these customers to 4G services is ongoing, with 4G having now established itself as the region’s leading mobile technology. However, we expect 4G adoption to peak in 2023 before declining as consumers upgrade to the next generation of wireless broadband, 5G. In fact, by the middle of the next decade, there will be 203 million 5G connections in Europe, representing 29% of total connections. Significant capital expenditure by mobile operators in the post-2020 period will expand 5G network coverage to three-quarters of region’s population by 2025.
Last year, mobile technologies and services generated 3.3% of GDP in Europe – an economic value-add of €550 billion. By 2022, this figure is expected to increase to €720 billion (4.1% of GDP).