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State of Global Cellular Connectivity in 2019 and 2025

GSMA published their global Mobile Economy report recently. While there were not many surprises for me as I have used it over the years for various presentations and reports, others may be a bit surprised, especially with all the hype around 5G. Before we jump into the numbers, the chart that caught my eye is as shown above.

Coverage gap is easy to understand because these are the people / areas that have no coverage. The usage gap defines people who are in a region covered by some or the other technology but are not connected. There could be various factors in play because of affordability or no need, etc.

The report states that there were 8.0 billion cellular connections (excluding IoT) in 2019 and this will increase to 8.8 billion by 2025. Looking at the mobile connections worldwide, we see that in 2025, there will still be around 5% of the users using 2G (mainly GSM) technology. While this may sound like a small number, this is still roughly 440 millions users worldwide. 18% of the connections will be 3G, which is 1.58 billion in numbers. 5G will be slightly better than 3G with 20% or 1.76 billion connections while the dominant technology will be 4G with 56% or 4.93 billion connections.


All these connectivity technologies will vary significantly from region to region as can be seen above. For example in China, there will hardly be any 2G or 3G left by 2025 while in Sub-Saharn Africa, 3G will be the dominant technology.

I encourage you to dig deep into the report and point out any gems that you find. There is around 60 pages of very valuable details and surely I will be writing more on this topic.

The mobile economy report is available here. The promo video from GSMA is embedded below.



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