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The Mobile Economy Europe 2018

As of year-end 2017, 85% of the European population – 465 million people – subscribed to mobile services. The total addressable market for the region’s mobile operators is approaching saturation point, with the larger mobile markets such as France and the UK accounting for the majority of new unique subscribers.

Since 2012, rapid adoption of 4G services has occurred across many European countries. At the end of 2017, there were 285 million 4G connections in the region (a 25% increase on the previous year), accounting for 42% of total connections.1 4G has now overtaken 3G as the region’s leading technology, though connections are forecast to peak during 2023. 4G investment will continue in the short term as operators seek network performance improvements to meet consumer demand for higher speed, always-on connectivity.

By 2025, 5G coverage is forecast to reach three-quarters of the population in Europe. The region will be home to 203 million 5G connections, accounting for 29% of total connections. From a regional perspective, Europe will account for the third largest share of 5G connections by 2025, behind Asia Pacific and Northern America. Early 5G investment is underway, although the majority of operators’ capex will occur in the period after 2020.

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