Latin America. The fifth generation of cellular wireless networks, or "5G," recorded another year of spectacular growth. After adding nearly 500 million connections in 2022, 5G continues to enjoy healthy adoption in 2023, with momentum in enterprise subscriptions and industrial deployments.
The number of 5G wireless connections globally increased by 76% from the end of 2021 to the end of 2022, to stand at 1.05 billion. According to data from Omdia and 5G Americas, it will reach the milestone of 5.9 billion by the end of 2027.
Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, said, "5G is growing dramatically and scaling faster than any previous generation of wireless cellular technology. While deployments and connections are adding up at a significant pace, the promise of 5G will be fulfilled through technological advancement in areas such as autonomous architecture and network slicing for new use cases."
The most recent data from Omdia indicates that in 2022 there were 455 million 5G connections in the world. In total, this represents sequential quarterly growth of 14 percent, from 922 million in Q3 2022 to 1.05 billion in Q4 2022. Global 5G connections are projected to continue accelerating in 2023 to approach 2 billion and reach 5.9 billion by the end of 2027.
North America is a leader in the adoption of 5G wireless connections, with a total of 119 million 5G connections and 507 million LTE connections by the end of Q4 2022. 5G penetration in the North American market population is approaching 32 percent, as the region added 52 million 5G connections in the year, a 78 percent increase over Q4 2021. Overall, a total of 215 million 5G connections are projected to come from North America by 2023, driven by strong shipments of 5G smartphones in the United States. According to Ericsson, total global mobile data traffic reached 118 exabytes (EB) per month by the end of 2022 and is projected to nearly quadruple to reach 325 EB per month by 2028.
4G LTE is expected to remain strong in Latin America and the Caribbean through the end of 2023. In Q4 2022, there were 537 million 4G LTE connections, representing 9.3 percent year-over-year growth with the addition of 46 million new LTE subscriptions. Latin America and the Caribbean had 12 million 5G connections by the end of 2022 and are expected to reach 400 million by 2027.
According to José Otero, Vice President of Latin America and the Caribbean of 5G Americas: "Connectivity and, specifically, mobile broadband communications are a key part of the way people live, study and operate commercially. 5G and LTE continue to advance significantly across the region. In the longer term, 5G has the opportunity to support productivity and industrial development in the region."
In total, the number of commercial 5G networks in the world reached 259, according to data from TeleGeography and 5G Americas. That number is expected to reach 390 by the end of 2023 and 403 by the end of 2025, representing strong growth in investment in 5G networks in many regions of the world. The following summarizes the number of 5G and 4G LTE network deployments as of March 16, 2023:
North America: 14
Latin America and the Caribbean: 28
North America: 17
Latin America and the Caribbean: 128