The GSMA has taken the opportunity of this week’s inaugural Mobile World Congress Americas to publish its second annual Global Mobile Trends report.
One key finding is that five billion – two-thirds of the world’s population – are now on mobile networks. But growth is slowing, with the GSMA noting that mobile subscriptions took more than four years to get from four billion to five billion.
What isn’t slowing down, meanwhile, is the spread of faster connectivity. A quarter of all mobile connections are 4G today, and that will reach two-thirds by 2025. Meanwhile, 5G networks are on the horizon, with South Korea and Japan expected to showcase the technology at the Olympic games in 2018 and 2020.
Still, it’s going to take some concerted effort before 5G will be able to take hold – in fact no less than a “paradigm shift in network architecture” will be required, according to a statement summarizing the GSMA’s findings. Edge computing, network slicing, and the creation of decentralized networks like LPWA will need to be leveraged to offer the infrastructure for 5G and the Internet of Things.
Of course, a number of major players, such as Ericsson and SK Telecom, are already working hard on making that happen. And as mobile devices continue to evolve, as we’ve seen with this week’s announcement of the iPhone X, there’s nowhere for mobile connectivity to go but forward.