The number of commercial 5G mobile broadband networks launched globally hit 109 in Q3 2020, according to the latest 5G Service Provider Tracker report from Omdia. When taking into account networks that use 5G to deliver home broadband services, the total number of Communication Service Provider (CSP) launches reached 140 at end-3Q20.
Western Europe has the largest number of commercial 5G mobile broadband networks, at 33, followed by Asia-Pacific with 31, and the Middle East, with 17. The Middle East has the highest number of live 5G Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) networks, at 11, followed by Western Europe, with 8, and Asia-Pacific, with 6.
5G is already the second-fastest-growing new cellular network technology ever launched by the telecoms industry, behind only the first mass-market mobile service, 2G (GSM). The number of mobile broadband networks is 38% higher than it was for 4G two full years after the first launches, while in its first full year of commercial services 5G exceeded the total number of subscriptions 4G had after three years.
Even with a strong start there still remains huge scope for growth for 5G as 85 % of CSPs have yet to launch 5G. This is partly due to local governments not making the 5G spectrum available yet. By 2025 Omdia expects there will be over three billion 5G mobile subscriptions, representing nearly one third of all total mobile subscriptions.