There are now 50 commercial 5G networks around the world

Early adopters of 5G technology have begun to take advantage of numerous initial 5G network rollouts in 2019, according to a statement released by 5G Americas. The data from Ovum showed that there are now four million 5G connections globally as of the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 166% over the second quarter.

Further, there are now 50 commercial 5G networks globally, which adhere to 3GPP standards, and according to data from TeleGeography, that number is expected to increase to 67 5G commercial networks by the end of this year. This current estimation is a slight decrease from TeleGeography’s earlier prediction in September, in which it was predicted that there would be 77 commercial networks by the end of 2019.

Chris Pearson, president, 5G Americas commented that early 5G adopters are “testing the waters” to see what their devices are capable of when paired with the new technology.

“They’re taking advantage of new capabilities now being offered by several 5G networks that have come online over the past quarter. We expect to see a strong ramp up in 2020 as more devices become available and coverage expands throughout the world,” he said.

5G is not alone in its growth. LTE, too, gained an additional 250 million subscriber connections globally in the third quarter of 2019 and has now reached 5 billion connections worldwide. This growth is mainly fueled by customers migrating from older 3G and 2G technologies. In addition, LTE added approximately 1 billion new connections from the third quarter of 2018 to third quarter of 2019.

Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular, has experienced significant, gaining 17 million new LTE connections from Q2 to Q3.

Jose Otero, vice president of Latin America and Caribbean, 5G Americas said that as LTE increases in geographic coverage, more affordable smartphones are becoming available. He added, “Operators [are]adopt[ing]strategies seeking to migrate subscribers to LTE that until recently were using second and third generation services.”

Data from Ovum estimates the number of 5G subscribers will accelerate rapidly through the end of 2019, reaching 12.9 million connections, with 1.3 billion connections expected in 2023.


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