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The latest wireless industry forecast from Ericsson predicts that more than one-fifth of mobile data traffic worldwide will run on 5G networks in five years' time.

The amount of data traffic overall, meanwhile, is expected to climb approximately eight-fold by 2023.

"2018 is the year 5G networks go commercial as well as for large-scale deployments of cellular IoT," Fredrik Jejdling, Ericsson EVP and Head of Business Area Networks, said in a statement. "These technologies promise new capabilities that will impact people's lives and transform industries."

The Swedish telecom equipment maker previously projected that 5G subscriptions would eclipse 1 billion by 2023 and account for about 12 percent of all mobile subscriptions.

The latest Ericsson Mobility Report, however, added that 5G networks would carry more than 20 percent of worldwide data traffic by that year — or 1.5 times more than the total traffic on today's 4G, 3G and 2G networks.

Overall traffic is expected to approach 107 exabytes per month by the end of 2023.

As major U.S. operators prepare to debut 5G systems this year and next, the report said the North American region would pace the global adoption of 5G.

Major global deployments, meanwhile, would begin in 2020. Nearly half of mobile subscriptions in North America are expected to be 5G by 2023, followed by the Northeast Asia region at 34 percent and Western Europe at 21 percent.

The latest report also anticipated that cellular Internet of Things connections would reach 3.5 billion by 2023. That amount nearly doubled Ericsson's previous forecast, a trend that analysts attributed to the beginning of large-scale IoT deployments in China.

"This change will only come about through the combined efforts of industry players and regulators aligning on spectrum, standards and technology," Jejdling said.

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