North America is one of the most advanced mobile regions in the world – a result of significant operator investments in 5G.
5G is coming
The 2019 North America edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series forecasts that almost half of the region’s mobile connections will be running on new 5G networks by 2025.
This is being fuelled by operator spending on new networks, which is forecast to total more than $380 billion (Capex) between 2018 and 2025. These investments are increasingly being focused on building-out 5G coverage across the region, enabling a range of new services for consumers and enterprise.
“Our new study highlights how the North America region is vying for global 5G leadership with pioneering mobile markets such as China, Japan and South Korea,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA. “Investments in next-generation networks and services by operators has helped create an industry that is now worth a trillion dollars a year to the region’s economy, providing a platform for innovation, jobs and economic growth.”
Key findings of the report
- There were 321 million unique mobile subscribers in North America in 2018, representing 83 per cent of the population. The number of subscribers is forecast to rise to 345 million (85 per cent of the population) by 2025.
- The US is by far the largest market in North America (278 million unique subscribers), followed by Canada (29 million) and the Caribbean (15 million).
- Around three quarters of the region’s mobile connections are running on 4G networks.
- The share of 4G connections will decline over the coming years as the market moves to 5G. New 5G networks are forecast to account for 46 per cent of connections by 2025.
- Mobile technologies and services generated 4.2 per cent of North America’s GDP in 2018, equivalent to $937 billion in economic value. This economic impact is forecast to increase to almost $1.2 trillion by 2023 (4.8% of GDP).
- The region’s mobile ecosystem also supported 2.3 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made substantial contributions to the funding of the public sector, with almost $123 billion raised through taxation last year (not including spectrum fees).
- North America’s mobile sector is on track to generate $280 billion in revenue this year, a result of high levels of consumer engagement and spending on mobile services.