Omdia is part of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC’s registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


540 million 5G connections were reached at the end of 2021; will pass 1.3 billion in 2022

10 May, 2022 | Maria Rua Aguete

mobile 5G 01_AdobeStock_311410777

5G will account for almost 60% of global mobile service revenues in 2026, coming from 40% of subscriptions by volume as I shared in my recent presentation at the 5G Forum in Seville, Spain.

Omdia expects more 5G subscriptions to be added in 2022 than last the three years since the technology was launched commercially in 2019.

Although 5G is still in its infancy, representing just 5% of all mobile connections, 5G mobile service revenues are set for rapid growth over the coming few years, driven by rapid adoption of 5G devices and higher spending by 5G customers as they increase their usage of data and digital services.

We are expecting that by 2026 40% of all mobile subscriptions will be 5G, totaling 4.8bn. Furthermore, annual 5G mobile service revenues are expected to reach $540.01bn worldwide by 2026, representing 60% of global mobile revenues.

The growth in 5G mobile service revenues will drive overall mobile service revenues to $911.61bn globally in 2026, up from $798.57bn in 2019.”

Mobile subscriptions by technology billion


Global 5G mobile and 5G FWA revenue forecast 201926 bn

Who leads the 5G race?
China leads in 2021 with 357million subscribers, followed by USA, Japan, and South Korea. UK is in the 5th place with more than 9 million 5G connections.

2021 and 2026 5G ranking subs

However, if we look at percentage of population with 5G connections then South Korea is ahead as more than 40% of the population has a 5G connection. South Korea is followed by Hong Kong at 39% and China at 30%. In the UK only 8% of the population has a 5G connection.

Regarding 5G monetization and increase in ARPU, although that direct evidence of the impact of 5G on ARPU is still fragmented, as 5G SIM penetration remains low in many markets and COVID restrictions are lifted/re-introduced; telcos should provide a strategy that makes 5G attractive to its users and that it is extremely likely that 5G will have an overall positive effect.

Omdia understands that gaming, streaming video, AR, and VR are some of the key drivers for consumers to take 5G plans.

Telcos who were previously not engaged with 5G, have most frequently added a new pricing model as “data tiers,” simply by adding extra data allowances to cater for a new or wider audience; “speed tiers” have also gained momentum in 2021. Only 10% of operators offering 5G have added 5G-rich services to 5G during 2021.

AIS Thailand claimed 2.2 million “high-value” 5G subscribers after 2 years of the launch of 5G and have experienced a corresponding ARPU uplift of about 10-15%, thanks to larger data volume consumed and additional benefits i.e., AR/VR services, 5G cloud games, and multiple SIMs.

Telcos should look to bundle-rich 5G apps and services to drive demand and sate consumer user-needs for more advanced connectivity.

Omdias six 5G pricing models  4Q20 vs 4Q21


Maria Rua Aguete, Senior Research Director

Maria Rua Aguete leads the strategic development of the media team and manages its day-to-day operations, tracking the continuing evolution of global service providers and operators. The team’s research on service providers is deep and extensive, leveraging long-standing relationships with operators in all of the 70+ markets covered by the group, resulting in the most comprehensive source of television and operator market intelligence in the world. Read bio

Get ahead in business

Consumer Electronics
Optimize opportunities and make the right decisions with critical data and expert analysis from Omdia.

Sign up to receive regular updates on new trends, insights and findings for your business.