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North American 5G connections are up 67% from the second quarter of last year and global connections are up 41% from the first quarter of 2021, according to a new report from research firm Omdia and 5G Americas.

Total global connections are now at 429 million, an increase of 124 million from the first quarter and on pace to reach 692 million globally by the end of the calendar year, according to Omdia.

North America had a total of 44.6 million 5G connections by the end of second quarter of the year, an addition of 17.9 million from the previous quarter. Additionally, North America had 501 million LTE connections by the end of Q2 2021, which marks a 0.66% quarterly decline in LTE.

But not all connections are good ones. A recent OpenSignal report found that in the U.S., the people with the best 5G experiences tended to be in the Northeast.

In addition to more connections, more 5G networks are going on the scene, with 10 launchings globally in the second quarter alone, according to TeleGeography. There are now 182 5G commercial networks, a figure that is expected to grow to 220 by the end of the year and to and 323 by the end of 2023.

The growth of commercial 5G networks will help drive a sharp increase in 5G connections over the next few years. Omdia predicts that the total number of 5G connections will reach 4.7 billion in 2026. Of that, 512 million is expected to come from North America.

“5G is progressing at a very rapid pace. Yet, the pace of subscriber uptake is only the beginning,” said Chris Pearson, 5G Americas president, in a prepared statement about global and North American 5G connections. “5G will be foundational for a new era of technology innovation throughout the world.”

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