LTE to 5G August 2020 – Global Market Status


This LTE to 5G August 2020: Global Market Status is updated from the May 2020 report and is freely available to download by registered website users.


LTE is a global success, with over 5.4 billion subscriptions and connecting nearly 60% of mobile users worldwide and it is the fastest developing mobile system technology ever. LTE is specified by 3GPP as a single global standard for paired and unpaired spectrum users. The vast majority of the standard is the same for FDD and TDD. LTE has evolved through various 3GPP technology releases covering the introduction of LTE-Advanced and then LTE-Advanced Pro that have significantly improved the capabilities of LTE networks. From 3GPP Release 15 onwards, the community has been defining 5G networks, starting with Non-Standalone 5G systems that integrate with existing LTE networks and then moving on to Standalone 5G systems with substantially different network configurations. GSA’s Evolution from LTE to 5G report provides an independent in-depth status view and analysis of the global 4G/LTE, LTE-Advanced and 5G markets, supported by facts, and confirms technology trends. Information is obtained, analysed and verified by GSA. The report is published quarterly and referenced by industry across the whole ecosystem.

Key market facts

There are:

  • 904* operators that have stated plans to invest or are actively investing in LTE for public networks, including those evaluating/testing and trialling LTE and those paying for suitable spectrum licences (excludes those using technology-neutral licences exclusively for 2G or 3G services).
  • 798 operators running LTE networks providing mobile and/or FWA services in 229 countries/territories worldwide.
  • 215 commercial VoLTE networks in 101 countries/territories and a total of 275 operators investing in VoLTE in 121 countries/territories.
  • 320 deployed/launched LTE-Advanced networks in 145 countries/territories. Overall, 354operators are investing in LTE-Advanced technology in 153 countries/territories.
  • Twelve launched networks that support user equipment (UE) at Cat-18 DL speeds within limited geographic areas and six of these supporting Cat-19 (in a limited area).
  • 234# operators with TDD licences suitable for LTE and at least 165# operators are known to be actively using the spectrum (either deploying services or have launched LTE-TDD networks).
  • 156 operators investing in NB-IoT in 75 countries/territories (down on previous report due to company mergers and two operators recently retiring NB-IoT investments); of these, 107 NB-IoT networks are deployed/launched in 58 countries/territories.
  • Sixty-eight operators are investing in LTE-M/Cat-M1 in 39 countries/territories; of these, 48 LTE-M/Cat-M1 networks are deployed/commercially launched in 32 countries/territories.
  • 397 operators in 129 countries/territories are investing in 5G mobile or 5G FWA/home broadband networks.
  • 118 operators in 59 countries/territories have announced the deployment of 5G within their live network.
  • 96 operators in 41! countries/territories have announced 3GPP 5G service launches.

Note that all references to countries/territories in this document can be read as also including territories, special administrative regions, disputed territories and dependencies.

*This number has been restated since previous reports as we have removed companies from our count that have historically announced investment plans, but where we can see no evidence of development, and where companies have closed, been acquired or have relinquished spectrum.
#This number has been restated since the last report reflecting the removal of companies from the database that have been acquired, have closed, have lost licences, or have relinquished spectrum.
!Numbers restated since last update to remove ‘limited availability and soft launches’. Count now only includes full commercial launches.

LTE to 5G August 2020

LTE to 5G August 2020