5G mobile networks are rolling out much more quickly than the previous generation 4G LTE standard, new research shows.
There were 31 commercial service launches around the world by the end of the second quarter of 2019 and the deployment of 5G is now “widespread”, with projects in 17 countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, IHS Markit | Technology said.
This level of deployment was achieved just 10 months after the first commercial 5G launches, whereas 4G took about three years to begin deployment and four years to attain a large number of launches.
“Although the 4G/LTE standard was finalised in 2009, it wasn’t until 2012 that the pace of launches picked up, and not until the first quarter of 2013 that the total number of launches exceeded 100,” explained Elias Aravantinos, senior research analyst for operator strategy at IHS Markit | Technology. “In contrast, deployments of 5G began just weeks after the standard was completed, setting the stage for the rollout of the technology in locations across the globe in less than a year.”
The number of 5G deployments is set to continue growing rapidly, with possibly hundreds of deployments per quarter in 2020/2021.
According to the 5G Commercial Launches Q2 2019 report, a major factor driving the acceleration in the pace of 5G launches is wireless operators’ maturity and experience.
“During the transition from 3G to 4G, wireless operators learned valuable lessons that they are now applying to the 5G rollout,” Aravantinos said. “In terms of knowhow, the operators are ready and able to ramp up 5G services at a tremendous rate. Currently, the only factors preventing operators from starting even more 5G launches are money and the availability of phones and routers.”
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