OMDIA: ‘The entire world is gearing up for 5G deployment’

Global research company OMDIA released a Market Progress Assessment report, and according to Principal Analyst Stephen Myers, the entire world is “gearing up for 5G deployment,” but South Korea has emerged as the clear global leader, while Switzerland and the U.K. are leading the way in Europe.

“Across the world we are seeing governments and regulators fine-tuning their 5G spectrum allocations and operators get ready for their 5G launches and expand network coverage in those countries where 5G has already launched,” commented Myers. “We can expect to see a much larger number of commercial 5G launches in major global markets in the next 12-18 months as more spectrum is released across the world.”

Switzerland leads in Europe

The OMDIA findings support earlier reports that Switzerland is in the lead when it comes to 5G in Europe, with progress being driven largely by Sunrise and Swisscom.

Sunrise launched its next-gen network in March of 2019, initially covering more than 150 towns, cities and villages.

In April 2019, Swisscom and Ericsson turned on a live 5G network in 54 cities and communities, including Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Basel, Lausanna and Lucerne.

“In December there were 384 cities and towns in which Sunrise had more than 80% 5G population coverage, and this had grown to 426 localities in January 2020,” Myers reported. “For its part, Swisscom achieved its target of 90% coverage with a “basic version of 5G” although devices supporting this network were only to be available in 1Q 2020.”

South Korea leads globally

OMDIA analysts have concluded that South Korea has established itself as the early market leader for 5G technology deployment, just as it did with 4G. Specifically, the report revealed that at the end of December 2019, the country had reached 4.67 million subscribers, which equates to about 7% of wireless services in the market.

Further, new reports show that the number of 5G subscribers in South Korea reached 6.34 million at the end of April, a year after local carriers had commercially launched this technology, Korean press reported, citing government data.

This figure represents an increase of 7.8% compared to the previous month, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT, and shows that 5G subscribers currently represent nearly 10% of the country’s overall mobile base.

SK Telecom’s 5G customers accounted for 45% of total 5G subscribers, followed by KT with 30.3% and LG Uplus with 24.7%, the ministry said.

The UK is ranked sixth globally

The U.K.’s operators have a similar focus to that of the Australian operators, according to OMDIA, because they, too, are in the processes of scaling up next-generation coverage across the country, with the U.K. government investing money to ensure rural areas also benefit from the deployments.

“The U.K. government has identified 5G as a key technology to assist in its goal in delivering nationwide gigabit broadband by 2025,” said Myers. “The U.K. government’s £1.1 billion digital connectivity package, including the £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will support investment in new fixed and mobile networks, through programs such as the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.”

At the moment, the U.K. is second only to Switzerland in terms of 5G deployment in the European market.

“As things stand,” Myers added, “[the U.K.]is well positioned to lead its continental rivals in the deployment of 5G — giving it a potential advantage in terms of developing next-generation industries.”



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