Definitive data and analysis for the mobile industry
Module: Mobile Operators and Networks

The Mobile Economy 2022

As the world emerges from the pandemic and social and economic activities begin to recover, connectivity will continue to play a vital role in the way people live and businesses operate. Indeed, digital services, underpinned by high speed and high performance networks, are set to become more integral to society in a post-pandemic world. In this context, unconnected populations will be at greater risk of exclusion from many life-enhancing services online. The mobile industry has been instrumental in extending connectivity to people around the world. In 2021, the number of mobile internet subscribers reached 4.2 billion people globally.

Meanwhile, 5G adoption continues to grow rapidly in pioneer markets, with the total number of connections set to reach 1 billion in 2022. Meanwhile, a new wave of 5G rollouts in large markets with modest income levels could further incentivise the mass production of more affordable 5G devices, which in turn could further bolster subscriber growth. By the end of 2025, 5G will account for around a quarter of total mobile connections and more than two in five people around the world will live within reach of a 5G network.

4G still has room to grow in most developing markets, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, but rising 5G adoption in leading markets means that 4G adoption on a global level is beginning to decline. Globally, 4G adoption will account for 55% of total connections by 2025, down from a peak of 58% in 2021.

In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated $4.5 trillion of economic value added, or 5% of GDP, globally. This figure will grow by more than $400 billion by 2025 to nearly $5 trillion as countries increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.

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