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5G rollouts on track despite COVID-19 pandemic

The 5G momentum is still moving forward despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Latest figures from Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) indicate that 5G is gaining traction and going live worldwide.

GSA’s latest March 2020 market snapshot show that 70 operators have launched commercial 5G networks in 40 countries, with 381 investing in the new mobile technology.

Compared to the same time last year, only 11 operators globally have announced limited 5G services and 201 were investing in 5G.

Of the 70 operators implementing 5G now, 63 had launched 3GPP-compliant mobile services (57 full launches, 6 limited availability launches), and 34 had launched similarly compliant fixed wireless access (FWA) or home broadband (27 full launches, 7 limited availability launches).

“5G remains on track to become the fastest adopted mobile technology ever,” said Joe Barrett, president of the GSA. 

“Not only are we seeing milestone after milestone being passed in 5G network deployments, but also in commercial 5G device launches. In March alone we’ve hit 70 operators with live 5G services and over 250 announced 5G devices, of which at least 67 are commercially available today.

“Regulators, operators and vendors are all working hard so that this year will see more spectrum auctioned or allocated, more 5G mobile and fixed wireless access services launched, and even more devices across all form factors come to market,” said Barrett.

In a separate study, the GSM Association (GSMA) 2020 Mobile Economy report estimates that while 5G is emerging, 4G remains the dominant mobile technology and currently supports 52 per cent or more than half of global connections.

GSMA predicts that 4G will still continue to grow in the next few years and account for 56 per cent of connections by 2025. However, 80 per cent of future mobile CAPEX spending by operators from 2020 to 2025 will be focussed on developing 5G networks.

To date, almost half of the global population of 3.8 billion people are now mobile internet users, a number expected to reach 61 per cent (5 billion) by 2025.

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