More than 30 per cent of Europe’s mobile connections will be operating on 5G networks by 2025, according to a new study by the GSM Association (GSMA).

In its 2017 Europe edition of the Mobile Economy series, the GSMA has predicted that by 2025, Europe will see 214 million 5G connections. The organisation said this would serve to establish the region as one of the largest 5G markets in the world at that point.

The GSMA said the first commercial 5G networks in Europe are due to be switched on by 2020, adding that they are expected to provide 5G network coverage to almost three quarters of Europe’s population by 2025.

Mats Granryd, director general of the GSMA, said: “Europe has an opportunity to re-establish itself as a global technology leader as we move toward the 5G era, but this can only happen if policy-makers move quickly and boldly to make the necessary regulatory reforms to boost the region’s competitiveness on the global stage and bring innovative services to Europe’s citizens.”

He went on to add that a “forward-looking regulatory environment designed to encourage long-term investment and innovation in Europe’s digital infrastructure” is needed to maintain a vibrant European mobile ecosystem, as well as deliver the European Commission’s vision for a ‘Gigabit Society’.

According to the GSMA, Europe is the most highly penetrated mobile region in the world. By the end of 2016, there were 456 million unique mobile subscribers in Europe, which is equivalent to 84 per cent of the continent’s population.

This high penetration rate means numbers of subscribers will likely not grow much over the coming years, with unique mobile subscribers in Europe forecast to reach 469 million by 2020. This amounts to 86 per cent of the population – a 0.7 per cent compound annual growth rate.

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