2020 in Review 5G networks, Spectrum & Devices

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2020 in Review 5G networks, Spectrum & Devices

5G remains on track to become one of the fastest adopted mobile technologies ever. In 2020, the world saw milestone after milestone being passed in 5G network deployments and device launches. Against an unprecedented backdrop of a global pandemic and economic disruption, the mobile industry has continued to see more spectrum allocated to 5G, more networks deployed, and more devices become commercially available; a momentum that has been mirrored in the growth in 5G subscriptions around the world.

Key 5G milestones passed in 2020 included:
Operators investing in 5G networks as 5G services launch around the world
–        By mid-December 2020, 412 operators in 131 countries/territories were investing in 5G, while today there are 806 public LTE networks
–        5G services are now launched in all regions, including 85 networks in EMEA, 35 in APAC and 15 in the Americas
–        https://gsacom.com/paper/lte-to-5g-november-2020-global-market-status/

5G now deployed for private networks
–        Out of 185 private network deployments and pilots tracked by GSA,  65% are using LTE technology, 28% are deployed over 5G, while 7% are using a combination of LTE and 5G
–        https://gsacom.com/paper/private-mobile-networks-december-2020-global-update/

Governments continued to free-up spectrum for 5G, and operators have been swift in using it
–        C-Band spectrum: 136 operators licensed/deployed/deploying
o   https://gsacom.com/paper/c-band-spectrum-november-2020-global-update/
–        mmWave at 26/28 GHz: 85 licences with 24 deploying/deployed
o   https://gsacom.com/paper/mmwave-bands-global-licensing-and-usage-for-5g-2/
–        700 MHz increasingly important; 36 auctions/assignments expected by end 2022
o   https://gsacom.com/paper/sub-1-ghz-spectrum-december-2020/

Rapid growth in the numbers and types of 5G devices being announced and launched
–        519 5G devices announced from 104 vendors,  with 303 commercially available (up from 162 at the end of July)
–        20 announced form factors, with phones and FWA CPE dominating
–        https://gsacom.com/paper/5g-ecosystem-december-2020-executive-summary/

Looking ahead to 2021, GSA is forecasting more spectrum activity, with over 75 auctions/assignments underway or expected by the end of 2022. At current growth rates, GSA anticipates there being over 500 commercial devices by the end of 2021; it is also expected that the milestone of 200 launched 5G networks will be reached in the same timescale based on the current trajectory. GSA expects to see an acceleration in the deployment of 5G standalone networks in the coming year; while there are just three launched so far, another 56 operators are known to be investing, of which 13 are already understood to be deploying.

2020 in Review 5G networks, Spectrum & Devices

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©GSA 2020

2020 in Review 5G