5G networks surpass 100 globally – but 85% of CSPs are yet to launch

Omdia image of a time-lapse city shot.
(Image credit: Omdia.)

Despite many commentators showing their frustration at the speed, or lack of it, that 5G networks are currently rolling out across the globe, the reality is very different. Far from being a faltering technology, the latest data from Omdia has found that there are now more than 100 5G networks that have gone live, making 5G the second-fastest-growing cellular network technology ever launched, only surpassed by 2G, the first mass-market mobile service.

The current number of commercial 5G networks launched globally currently sits at 109 for the third quarter of 2020, and when you add in home broadband services being delivered via 5G (fixed wireless access, FWA), that numbers jumps to 140.

"The telecoms industry has been more successful than ever in agreeing extremely complex 5G technology standards."

Paul Lambert, Omdia.

"The telecoms industry has been more successful than ever in agreeing extremely complex 5G technology standards, and then manufacturing network equipment and devices that enable service providers that want to get a head-start on 5G to launch,” said Paul Lambert, principal analyst at Omdia.

Global 5G distribution

Regarding the global distribution of 5G networks, Europe currently leads the way, with the largest number of commercial 5G mobile broadband networks (33), followed by Asia-Pacific (31), and the Middle East (17). With the Middle East boasting has the highest number of live 5G FWA networks (11).

"As activity shifts increasingly online, 5G, like previous technology generations, will both expand on and enhance the way people experience their connected digital lives,” Lambert explained. “For specialist users, such as gamers, industries, and businesses, 5G also brings quicker response times, so that data-heavy experiences, services, and applications feel more vivid and immediate."  

However, even with the incredibly quick introduction of 5G services, especially considering the global pandemic the world currently faces, Omdia claims that there is still “huge scope for growth” for 5G, with 85 % of CSPs yet to launch a 5G offering. 

For those CSPs yet to make the move to 5G, India says that the 5G iPhone launch will have a “significant effect on the global telecoms industry, as it will encourage service providers across the globe that have yet to build their 5G networks to begin their planning in earnest”.

Dan Oliver

Dan is a British journalist with 20 years of experience in the design and tech sectors, producing content for the likes of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell and The Sunday Times. In 2012 he helped launch the world's number one design blog, Creative Bloq. Dan is now editor-in-chief at 5Gradar, where he oversees news, insight and reviews, providing an invaluable resource for anyone looking to stay up-to-date with the key issues facing 5G.