The GSMA’s latest research into the state of the mobile industry in Europe predicted tough market conditions would have a negative impact on 5G uptake, with even those countries expected to have the highest adoption by 2025 lagging global peers.

In the 2022 Mobile Economy Report Europe, the GSMA highlighted 34 markets in Europe had 5G available at end-June, with 108 operators offering commercial services and user uptake of around 6 per cent.

The Association tipped average 5G penetration to hit 44 per cent by 2025, with the UK and Germany expected to lead on 61 per cent and 59 per cent, respectively.

However, GSMA analysts noted even these countries were likely to be behind global peers South Korea, which it tipped to have penetration of 73 per cent, and the US and Japan on around 68 per cent apiece.

The GSMA pointed to the pace of coverage expansion as a “key factor”, claiming nearly a third of the European population would be unable to receive 5G in 2025 compared with less than 2 per cent in the US and South Korea.

It reiterated a call to create the “right conditions for private infrastructure investment, network modernisation and digital innovation” including highlighting the need for contributions to network costs from elsewhere.

GSMA VP for policy and regulation and head of Europe Daniel Pataki said 5G adoption in Europe is happening “faster than ever before, but greater focus on creating the right market conditions for infrastructure investment is needed to keep pace with other world markets”.

“This should include the implementation of the principle of fair contribution to network costs”. Other forecasts in the report include an increase in unique mobile subscribers from 474 million in 2021 to 480 million in 2025; growth in cellular IoT connections from 172 million to 406 million; and total operator capex of €122 billion between 2022 and 2025.

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