Ericsson said that more than 20 5G SA networks were already operational globally by the end of 2021
The number of 5G Standalone (SA) networks at a global level could reach nearly 40 at the end of 2022, according to the latest edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report.
The report revealed that more than 20 public 5G SA networks on mid- and low-bands had been launched by the end of last year.
Ericsson highlighted that China and North America were the first markets in which 5G SA was launched, followed by commercial launches in several other markets, including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Germany and Finland.
The Swedish vendor also noted that 5G SA mid-band (TDD) deployments with continuous coverage are important to deliver a consistent user experience for the new differentiated service offerings enabled by SA architecture.
“The overwhelming majority of commercially launched 5G networks are based on NR non-standalone (NSA) technology, using existing 4G radio access for signaling, and an Evolved Packet Core (EPC) network. However, many use cases for Critical IoT, enterprises and industrial automation will only be feasible with the 5G NR SA and 5G Core architecture. In 5G SA architecture, automated end-to-end network slicing is simplified, with assured quality of service (QoS), security and flexibility, to multiple customer segments,” the report states.
“The possibility to add new network functionalities, quickly scale capacity and run in-service software upgrades will make it possible for service providers to create and deploy new services for automated and customized connectivity in hours, rather than days or weeks. With 5G Core, service providers will be able to provide better network slicing and offer end-to-end service-level agreements (SLAs) to customers. Service exposure and traffic steering functionalities introduced in 5G Core will provide additional tools for service differentiation.”
Ericsson also said that 5G SA-compatible devices are increasingly becoming available, accounting for over half of all announced 5G devices.
In China, it has been mandatory for 5G devices to be SA-capable since early 2020, and since February 2021, both new and existing 5G devices are on “SA by default”, the vendor said.
“The device ecosystem is also developing support for multiple network slices on commercial smartphones. End users can be provided with differentiated services, for example, setting separate personal and work profiles, with one slice for generic mobile broadband traffic, another for services like gaming, and one or several slices for enterprise applications like video conferencing and collaboration. This functionality will only be supported in 5G SA architecture,” Ericsson’s report adds.
The report also predicts that global 5G subscriptions will pass the one billion milestone by the end of this year.
By 2027, 5G will account for 90% of total subscriptions in North America, 82% in Western Europe, 80% in the Gulf Cooperation Council region and 74% in North-East Asia, Ericsson estimates.
Ericsson said that a total of 210 5G commercial networks had been launched globally as of the end of 2021, while 5G population coverage reached around 25 percent at the end of last year.