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Omdia 5G report: live networks pass 100 in 3Q20, 85% of CSPs yet to launch

LONDON, Oct. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ —

  • 5G mobile broadband launches passed 100 during 3Q20.
  • Western Europe has the largest number of 5G launches, followed by Asia-Pacific.
  • With Apple’s iPhone 12 launch, 5G coverage and network quality is even more of a critical area of differentiation and competition for service providers.

The number of commercial 5G mobile broadband networks launched globally hit 109 in Q3 2020, according to Omdia’s latest 5G Service Provider Tracker. When taking into account networks that use 5G to deliver home broadband services (Fixed Wireless Access, ‘FWA’), the total number of Communication Service Provider (CSP) launches reached 140 at end-3Q20.

Western Europe has the largest number of commercial 5G mobile broadband networks, at 33, followed by Asia-Pacific with 31, and the Middle East, with 17. The Middle East has the highest number of live 5G FWA networks, at 11, followed by Western Europe, with 8, and Asia-Pacific, with 6.

5G is already the second-fastest-growing new cellular network technology ever launched by the telecoms industry, behind only the first mass-market mobile service, 2G (GSM). The number of mobile broadband networks is 38% higher than it was for 4G two full years after the first launches, while in its first full year of commercial services 5G exceeded the total number of subscriptions 4G had after three years. 

Even with a strong start there still remains huge scope for growth for 5G as 85 % of CSPs have yet to launch 5G. This is partly due to local governments not making the 5G spectrum available yet. By 2025 Omdia expects there will be over three billion 5G mobile subscriptions, representing nearly one third of all total mobile subscriptions.

Paul Lambert, Principal Analyst at Omdia, commented: “The telecoms industry has been more successful than ever in agreeing extremely complex 5G technology standards, and then manufacturing network equipment and devices that enable service providers that want to get a head-start on 5G to launch.

“As activity shifts increasingly online, 5G, like previous technology generations, will both expand on and enhance the way people experience their connected digital lives. For specialist users, such as gamers, industries, and businesses, 5G also brings quicker response times, so that data-heavy experiences, services, and applications feel more vivid and immediate”

Consumer Interest:

5G smartphones from leading manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei have been in the market for over a year, however consumer interest in 5G is set to grow following October’s iPhone 12 launch, Apple’s first 5G device.

Apple’s launch will have a significant effect on the global telecoms industry as it will encourage service providers across the globe that have yet to build their 5G networks to begin their planning in earnest. It will also enable CSPs to justify the new investments required to expand and enhance coverage beyond initial areas because more people will be ready to access 5G.

Meanwhile, even faster 5G speeds made possible by mmWave spectrum, which the iPhone 12 currently supports in the US, will enable service providers and their partners to create rich new site-specific services, for example in stadiums and shopping centres.

Omdia is a registered trademark of Informa PLC and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners. Informa PLC registered in England & Wales with number 8860726, registered office and head office 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG, UK. Copyright © 2020 Omdia. All rights reserved. 

*The majority of IHS Markit technology research products and solutions were acquired by Informa in August 2019 and are now part of Omdia. 

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