With more than 7.9 billion mobile devices activated worldwide, there are already enough mobile devices in service for every person in the world to own one, and that number continues to increase by the second. As 400 million of those devices are being used in the U.S., it’s no surprise American consumers are eager to see what the future holds for their cell phones.
As reported in the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, the growth rate of mobile devices combined with the emergence of the fifth generation (5G) of wireless services on a global scale is expected to increase data usage by 500 percent over the next five years. By 2024, data traffic per smartphone is expected to be at 21 gigabytes per month.
Consumers are now purchasing more devices, linking them, and expecting faster connections. Will 2019 be a stepping stone to greater things in the wireless industry?
Internet of Things
Over the last five years, the number of connected mobile devices has grown at a compound annual rate of 33 percent, according to Ericsson. Many of the connected devices currently in use operate through the Internet of Things (IoT) on the second generation (2G) of wireless services. In 2018, we saw long-term evolution (LTE) become the fastest-growing base of devices, due to the popularity of automated vehicles, drones and more.
While the cellular IoT traffic currently represents a small volume of the mobile traffic overall, this is expected to grow as a wider range of products emerge supported by the 5G network. Not only will the emergence of 5G diversify the devices available to consumers, but innovators and manufacturers will also be able to reimagine old connected products and create new ones.
The emergence of 5G
The United States isn’t the only market seeing significant growth with the debut of 5G. Countries like Japan, China and South Korea are also expecting high subscription rates with the launch of the new generation. Over the next five years, Ericsson projects an expected 1.5 billion 5G subscriptions worldwide.
Second generation (2G) cellular networks brought us the ability to transfer information, while third generation (3G) brought us upload and download speeds that were nearly four times faster than 2G, making it possible to send and receive non-SMS content. Then, fourth generation (4G) LTE completely changed the way users interact with each other, offering 100 megabits per second. By the end of 2018, there will be more than 5 billion smartphones in use and 5G will dramatically improve the speed and consistency of 4G wireless connections, making it easier than ever for people to connect.
Multi-access edge computing
The rise of 5G and the expansion of the IoT will create a deeper need for improved multi-access edge computing (MEC), which reduces strain on the cloud network and improves application performance by processing data at the edge of the network. Wireless network providers will soon be able to provide more interactive experiences in real-time on the edge of the network, rather than directing traffic all the way back to the data center to be processed and returned.
With increased speeds resulting from the debut of 5G, the amount of time it takes to send and share information on a wireless network will be dramatically decreased in 2019.
There are big changes on the horizon as we exit 2018 and move forward into 2019. The new year will offer the next step in a forward progression towards deeper and faster mobile connections as result of 5G and multi-access edge computing.
Scott Moorehead is the CEO of Round Room, LLC, which owns and operates Redux, a technology that saves water-damaged phones; Culture of Good, Inc., a business that guides other companies on how to create a meaningful corporate culture; and Verizon Wireless retailers TCC and Wireless Zone. In addition to growing Round Room into the largest Verizon Authorized Retailer in the nation, Scott is nationally recognized for creating workplace cultures that encourage people to make an impact on their communities. This year, Scott was acknowledged in the American Business Awards, EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and as a Dealerscope CE Leader Who Rocks.