On October 27, GSMA Intelligence released its "Mobile Economy North American 2020" report. It looks at the recent mobile services landscape and projects mobile growth in investment, job creation, 5G adoption, and other consumer use habits for the U.S., Canada, and Caribbean Islands up to 2025.
Although the rate of 5G adoption was lower than initially expected in the first half of 2020 because of the pandemic, this is likely to be a blip. North America will reach 100 million 5G connections in 2022, driven by continued network investments from operators and the expanding range of 5G smartphones at varying price points. By 2025, North America will have become the first region where 5G accounts for more than 50% of total connections.
Although most of GSMA report's projections concern the North American region as a whole, it did offer some insights specific to the U.S. By 2025, the percentage of Americans connected via 5G will grow to 55% compared to about 1% in 2019. Also, smartphone adoption in the U.S. is projected to rise to 93% in 2025, up from 85% in 2019.
In terms of public policies needed to expedite 5G network deployment and adoption by consumer, the report emphasized that mobile service providers need streamlined local governmental processes for approving new infrastructure construction and upgrades. Mobile service providers "also need timely and sufficient availability of mid-range spectrum, which offers a balance of coverage and capacity that is critical to 5G's success. Making this spectrum available has sometimes proved to be a challenge due to incumbent users in prime bands, including government users."