GSA: 5G Passes Network and Device Milestones in 2020

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21st December 2020, London – The Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) today reported that 2020 has seen sustained investment in, and deployment of, 5G globally, with over 85 live networks and 300 devices now commercially available. GSA also confirmed annual growth in new members and associates off the back of new working groups and research programs.

Joe Barrett, President of GSA, commented, “5G remains on track to become one of the fastest adopted mobile technologies ever. In 2020, the world saw milestone after milestone being passed in 5G network deployments and device launches. Against an unprecedented backdrop of a global pandemic and economic disruption, the mobile industry has continued to see more spectrum allocated to 5G, more networks deployed, and more devices become commercially available; a momentum that has been mirrored in the growth in 5G subscriptions around the world.”

To mark the end of this landmark year in 5G, GSA has published 2020 Review: 5G Spectrum, networks and devices. The snapshot report is available for download here, with a recording of the latest GSA Snapshot Webinar discussing the state of 5G globally also available on-demand.

Milestone include:

  • Operators investing in 5G networks as 5G services launch around the world
  • By mid-December 2020, 412 operators in 131 countries/territories were investing in 5G, while today there are 806 public LTE networks
  • 5G services are now launched in all regions, including 85 networks in EMEA, 35 in APAC and 15 in the Americas
  • Out of 185 private network deployments and pilots tracked by GSA,  65% are using LTE technology, 28% are deployed over 5G, while 7% are using a combination of LTE and 5G

Looking ahead to 2021, GSA is forecasting more spectrum activity, with over 75 auctions/assignments underway or expected by the end of 2022. At current growth rates, GSA anticipates there being over 500 commercial devices by the end of 2021; it is also expected that the milestone of 200 launched 5G networks will be reached in the same timescale based on the current trajectory. GSA expects to see an acceleration in the deployment of 5G standalone networks in the coming year; while there are just three launched so far, another 56 operators are known to be investing, of which 13 are already understood to be deploying.

In 2020, GSA formed new Working Groups focused on Fixed Wireless Access and Private Mobile Networks. These activities extend the scope of GSA’s programs and build on the track record of the GSA Spectrum Group, the largest single spectrum advocacy team in the mobile industry representing the vendor ecosystem in 4G and 5G spectrum discussions with governments, regulators and other policy makers.

Producing over 130 reports in 2020, the GSA research team significant increased the breadth and depth of data available to GSA Members and Associates, including the addition of a 4G and 5G chipset data, as part of its unique search and analysis tool, the GSA GAMBoD database. Further additions to the GAMBoD database will be announced in 2021.

Commenting on the success of GSA in 2020, Barrett said: “This momentum has been built upon a foundation of industry collaboration and an ecosystem-wide effort to innovate, deploy and commercialise 5G networks and devices. This has been reflected what has been a record-breaking year for GSA itself, welcoming not only new Executive and Ordinary Members but also 34 new GSA Associates, including regulators, operators and vendors from around the world.”

Full access to all reports including GSA GAMBoD databases is available to Members and Associates. For further information how to join the GSA community to gain access to the GAMBoD database, or to register for free access to the summary reports, please visit: