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5G Progresses Despite COVID-19, Data Says

By Ken Briodagh

According to 5G Americas, a wireless industry trade association, and research coming out of several firms, 5G progress in connections and deployments continues despite the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

According to data from Omdia, there are now over 63.6 million 5G connections globally, which the firm says is more than 300 percent growth in just one quarter. Data recently released from TeleGeography indicates that there are now 82 5G commercial networks, and the Ericsson Mobility June 2020 Report shows that there are now more than 100 commercial 5G device models available globally, with increasing support for low-band, mid-band and millimeter (mmWave) frequency bands.

“Globally, 5G remains the fast-growing generation of wireless cellular technology ever, even as the world is gripped with a pandemic,” said Chris Pearson, President, 5G Americas. “In North America, we are seeing consistent, strong uptake of new 5G subscribers as new devices have been released that can take advantage of low-band and millimeter wave frequencies. At the same time, new network capabilities are being added.” 

Despite global strength in the number of 5G network rollouts, regional differences are beginning to emerge due to the localized impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Jose Otero, Vice President of Latin America and Caribbean, 5G Americas, “The impact of COVID-19 is finally being felt Latin America’s and Caribbean’s telecom industry. The decrease in remittances arriving from Europe and North America together with the mandatory lockdowns imposed by many regional governments decreased the purchasing power of a large percentage of the population.”

Looking ahead, Omdia reportedly projects 5G connections will reach 238 million globally by the end of 2020, of which North America will account for 10 million connections. According to Kristin Paulin, Senior Analyst at Omdia, “We expect growth to pick up in the second half of the year, following the easing of lockdowns as well as continued 5G network expansion and the availability of more 5G devices.”

Overall, the following number of networks using wireless technologies have been deployed as of June 15, 2020, according to TeleGeography:

Global:

  • 5G: 82
  • LTE Advanced: 328
  • LTE: 677

North America:

  • 5G: 7
  • LTE Advanced: 9
  • LTE: 20

Latin America & Caribbean:

  • 5G: 5
  • LTE Advanced: 50
  • LTE: 127

For more information and to view a variety of statistical charts on the 3GPP family of technologies, and for a list of LTE and 5G deployments by operator, by region visit www.5GAmericas.org. Subscriber and forecast data provided by Omdia and deployment data by TeleGeography (GlobalComm).


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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