The number of 5G subscribers worldwide jumped by 385.5 million between the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2020 and grew at three times the adoption rate of 4G technology, according to a new report from the 5G Americas trade group.
The data, which was developed by Omdia, told a positive story for 5G. It said that the technology had a 2500% increase in subscribers during the past year, which brought the total number of subscribers from 15.4 million to 401 million. It took 4G LTE five years to reach the same level.
Omdia expects there to be 619 million 5G subscribers globally by the end of this year and 3.4 billion by the end of 2025. At the end of 2025, Omdia projects that there will be 451 million subscribers in North America and 167 million in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Over one hundred (105) networks went live during 2020, bringing the total to 163 networks, 5G Americas noted.
The association cited research from Telegraphy forecasting that there will be 277 5G networks by the end of this year and research from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association showing that 628 5G devices have been announced and 404 were available by the end of last month.
At the end of 2020, North America had 19.96 million 5G connections and 499 million LTE connections. This was a 4098% increase and a gain of 19.5 million 5G subscribers during the year. Latin America and the Caribbean had a 6340% increase in 5G connections during 2020.
4G LTE also had a good year. It reached 6 billion connections, which was more than the projected 5.73 billion connections. North America accounted for 499 million and the Caribbean and Latin America 407 million of those connections. During 2020, North America added more than 22 million connections, a growth rate of 4.7%.
Here is the current network breakdown:
- 5G: 163
- LTE Advanced: 340
- LTE: 678
- 5G: 10
- LTE Advanced: 11
- LTE: 20
Latín America & Caribbean
- 5G: 13
- LTE Advanced: 48
- LTE: 124
“Two elements can contribute to the proliferation of new commercial 5G networks in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Jose Otero, Vice President of the Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas, said in a press release. “First, the increased availability of 5G-ready devices, especially for fixed wireless services. Second, governments’ efforts to accelerate the launch of 5G networks that include spectrum assignment processes, 5G incubator projects, spectrum auction announcements and incentives for 5G trials.”
A study by HighSpeedInternet.com released earlier this month found that 62% of respondents found 5G adoption “worth the upgrade” and that 69% bought their first 5G-capable device during the three to six months before responding to the survey.