In its Mobility Report, the company said one of the first 5G use cases would be fixed wireless access. As 5G smartphones became available during 2019, it said it expected several service providers to launch commercial 5G services.
Significant 5G subscription volumes were forecast to be seen early in North America and North-East Asia.
The report also forecast that the build-out of population coverage for 5G would be faster than that for LTE.
With nearly half the world's households yet to have a fixed broadband connection, Ericsson said opportunities existed for operators to deliver broadband services to homes and small- and medium-sized business using fixed-wireless access.
It pointed out that in order for FWA to be a viable alternative to fixed broadband - including xDSL, cable and fibre-optic access technologies - it must be able to be dimensioned with comparable capacity and performance.
"While 5G will make this possible, there is also a range of markets to be addressed with LTE technology on the way to 5G," the report noted.
The report said there were 7.9 billion mobile subscriptions globally in the third quarter of 2018, with 120 million new subscriptions added during the quarter.
Subscriptions grew 3% year-on-year with China having the most net additions (37 million) followed by India (31 million) and Indonesia (13 million).
Mobile broadband subscriptions were growing 15% year-on-year and increased by 240 million in Q3 2018, the report said. There were now 5.7 billion mobile broadband subscriptions globally.
Graph: courtesy Ericsson