The transition to 5G continues to roll along both in the U.S. and the world at large, as reports indicate that the number of 5G commercial networks at present is expected to double to more than 200 by the end of 2020, combined with more 5G device models and subscribers.
All of this is occurring despite the COVID-19 pandemic, according to 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association.
“Globally, 5G remains the fast-growing [sic] generation of wireless cellular technology ever, even as the world is gripped with a pandemic,” said Chris Pearson, president of 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.”
Currently, there are 82 5G commercial networks across the globe. TeleGeography projects that number to increase to 206 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, the Ericsson Mobility June 2020 Report found more than 100 commercial 5G device models are available globally, with increasing support for low-band, mid-band and millimeter frequency bands. As far as 5G connections, Omdia sees the number reaching 238 million worldwide at the end of 2020, with 10 million connections coming from North America.
While COVID-19 has had little impact globally, there has been some impact for certain regions. In Latin America, the decrease in remittances arriving from Europe and North America combined with mandatory lockdowns have led to a decreased purchasing power for those in heavily impacted regions, according to Jose Otero, vice president of Latin America and Caribbean, 5G Americas.
“The lack of devices due to global logistic obstacles has resulted in negative subscriber growth and slower uptake of new technologies,” said Otero. “It is expected that until that situation normalizes all spectrum assignment processes would be delayed and that no new networks would be launched during this period.”
There are projections that show that Latin America and the Carribean will recover and contribute to the overall growth for the year when restrictions are lifted.
For more information, visit www.5GAmericas.org.