Ericsson: North American smartphones to chew through 48 GB per month in 2023

In its latest mobility report, Ericsson predicts overall data traffic in North America will rise dramatically in the coming years.

According to Ericsson’s latest “mobility report,” the company expects data traffic from smartphones to grow at a rate of 37% by 2023 in North America. Specifically, the company predicts that the average North American smartphone user will consume 48 GB of data per month in 2023, up from just 5.2 GB per month in 2016 and 7.1 GB per month in 2017.

Ericsson’s predictions put North America on the high end of expected data usage. The company predicted that, by 2023, the average smartphone user in Western Europe will use 28 GB of data per month, the second-highest region in the company’s report. The Central and Eastern Europe region came in third at 19 GB per month in 2023, and the region of India, Nepal and Bhutan came in fourth with an expected 18 GB per month in 2023.

Overall, Ericsson said it expects the North American market to generate 18 EB (exabytes) per month, up from 2.6 EB per month this year.

The release of Ericsson’s traffic numbers coincided with the company’s prediction that there will be 1 billion 5G subscriptions for enhanced mobile broadband by 2023. The company said Canada and the United States will likely lead the charge in the deployment of 5G.

“North America currently has the highest penetration of LTE subscriptions at close to 80 percent,” Ericsson wrote in its report. “The region will also lead 5G uptake, with major operators stating their intentions to deploy 5G early. 5G subscriptions are expected to account for 37 percent of all mobile subscriptions in the region by the end of 2023.”

Interestingly, Ericsson’s new numbers largely dovetail with a survey Qualcomm conducted into consumer demand for 5G. “Consumers want better wireless connectivity and are poised to adopt 5G and are willing to pay more for a 5G device,” Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon wrote of the survey, which collected responses from 6,000 participants from the U.S., China, U.K., France, Germany and Finland. “Of those surveyed, more than 86% said faster connectivity is a priority for their next smartphone, something 5G will easily address. When asked if that “next smartphone” will indeed support 5G, about half said they see themselves as early adopters of the technology. And once 5G rolls out, about 50 percent would subscribe to an unlimited data plan.”

It’s perhaps worth pointing out that Qualcomm, Ericsson and the rest of the world’s network equipment vendors have placed high hopes on the sale of 5G hardware and software in order to goose their sales.