5G to Account for Half of North America’s Mobile Connections by 2025

Mobile’s contribution to the North American economy reached $1tn in 2019

27 October 2020, Los Angeles:  5G will account for more than half of total mobile connections in North America, according to the latest ‘Mobile Economy North America 2020’ report from GSMA Intelligence. Of the region’s forecasted total of 426 million mobile connections, 51 per cent of these will be running on 5G networks by 2025.

This rapid adoption will accelerate with continued investments in 5G networks from mobile operators and an expanding range of 5G smartphones at varying price points. In the medium term, 5G connections in North America should exceed 100 million by 2022, heralding a new era of connectivity, innovative services and increased efficiency that will benefit multiple industries and the broader economy.

In 2019, mobile technologies and services generated $1.01tn to the North American economy, corresponding to 4.8% of total GDP. Over the same period, the mobile ecosystem directly, and indirectly, supported more than two million jobs and raised $98bn through taxation across the region.

The research has been published by the GSMA to coincide with the start of its Thrive North America conference, a virtual event running 27 – 29 October 2020. Over three days, attendees will explore the opportunities created by emerging technologies, such as high bandwidth 5G connectivity, the Internet of Things (IoT) and, Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“5G will enable a new era of connectivity, resulting in an unprecedented demand for data and digital services,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “The report confirms that operators in North America will continue to be among the world leaders when it comes to 5G deployment. Although the rate of 5G adoption was lower than originally anticipated due to the pandemic, we don’t expect it to impact the growth of connections in the long term.”

Other key highlights from the Mobile Economy North America 2020 report include:

  • By 2025 North America will pass 340 million mobile subscribers
  • The report asserts that a thirst for streaming content, new digital services, and the rollout of 5G networks will fuel an exponential increase in data consumption
  • Alongside 5G rollouts, operators are also pursuing ambitious network transformation strategies
  • The level of operator capex investment will reach $337bn for the period 2019–2025
  • Operator revenues will grow to $294bn by 2025

Amongst its findings, the study also reveals that more than half of mobile users in the US and Canada already benefit from health-focused mobile apps. These will become increasingly important as health systems move away from in-person consultations as part of their response to Covid-19.

“During the pandemic, mobile networks have proven their resilience, rising to the challenge of keeping individuals and businesses connected, despite changes in data consumption patterns,” said Granryd. “This reflects the significant investments made by operators over many years to provide additional network capacity, which was supported by moves at the start of the pandemic to bolster service temporarily.”

To download the ‘Mobile Economy North America, 2020’ report, click here.

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About GSMA Intelligence

GSMA Intelligence is the definitive source of global mobile operator data, analysis and forecasts. Its data includes industry metrics updated daily comprising 30 million data points from operator groups, networks and MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) worldwide.  A team of 40 analysts and experts at GSMA Intelligence publish more than 130 authoritative industry reports. Research topics include 5G, IoT, media convergence and mobile trends. For more information, please visit www.gsmaintelligence.com and follow GSMA Intelligence on Twitter: @GSMAi


About GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Africa, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well as the Thrive Series of regional conferences.