There was strong 5G wireless growth during first quarter of 2024, with 185 million additions pushing global connections to almost the 2 billion level, according to data from 5G Americas telecommunications trade organization and Omdia, an analyst and advisory company.

North America is a big part of the positive momentum. The researchers reported that 32% of all cellular connections were 5G, which is double the global average. The overall growth rate was 11%, which equates to 22 million new connections. North America now has 220 million 5G connections.

The firms predict that 5G connections globally will reach 7.7 billion by 2028. At that point, they expect there to be 700 million 5G connections in North America. There are already almost as many 5G deployments in North America as 4G LTE networks, though the latter has been in the marketplace far longer.

As of mid-June, there were 316 5G networks worldwide. This includes 17 in North America and 40 in Latin America and the Caribbean. There are 712 global 4G LTE network deployments, of which 18 are in North America and 134 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“North America is swiftly moving to a region of essentially only LTE and 5G, with most operators having closed their legacy networks already,” said Omdia Principal Analyst Kristin Paulin. “On top of that, vast 5G coverage and devices at a range of price points helps drive 5G adoption. IoT is also expected to have more of a role in driving 5G adoption later in the forecast.”

Last October, 5G Americas and Omdia said that 5G is the fastest growing wireless technology and that connections would exceed 4G LTE by more than 2.5 billion in 2028. The organizations said that 331 million 5G connections had been added in the six months prior to the report. 

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