The Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is forecasted to have 62 million 5G mobile subscriptions by the end of 2026, representing about 73% of all mobile connections, the second-highest in the world after North America where the adoption rate will be 84%, said a study.
According to Swedish telecoms firm Ericsson’s Mobility Report, the Gulf countries, part of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, are among the most advanced ICT (information, communication, and technology) markets in the world – over 90% of mobile subscriptions were for mobile broadband at the end of 2020 and this is estimated to reach 95% in 2026.
"4G is the dominant technology, accounting for about 80% of the subscriptions at the end of 2020," the report said.
The report features breakout statistics from GCC markets for the first time where local digital initiatives are accelerating both technological innovations and the expected 5G uptake. In 2019, GCC markets were among the first in the world to launch commercial 5G services.
Driven by Saudi Vision 2030 and its digital initiatives to fulfill the strategic themes of Building A Thriving Economy and Fueling an Ambitious Nation, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is utilizing technologies such as 5G to transform the economic and social landscape of the nation.
According to the Ericsson Mobility Report, at the end of 2020, the GCC had the highest average monthly data traffic per smartphone in the world, exceeding 18GB.
Meanwhile, the report said that 5G mobile subscriptions will exceed 580 million globally by the end of 2021, driven by an estimated one million new 5G mobile subscriptions every day.