Monday, May 29, 2023

5G services now available in 72 countries/territories – GSA

At the end of September 2021, there were 180 operators in 72 countries/territories offering 3GPP-compatible 5G services including mobile and Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), according to the latest data from from GSA, the Global mobile Suppliers Association.


4G LTE has over six billion subscriptions, connecting nearly 64% of mobile users worldwide. There are 796 4G LTE operators in 240 countries/territories worldwide.

Key summary of the Evolution from LTE to 5G: Global Market Status – October 2021 report:

  • 907 operators in 243 countries/ territories that have stated plans to invest or are actively investing in LTE for public networks, including those evaluating/ testing and trialling LTE and those paying for suitable spectrum licences (excludes those using spectrum licences exclusively for 2G or 3G services).
  • 796 operators running LTE networks providing mobile and/or FWA services in 240 countries/territories worldwide.
  • 283 operators investing in VoLTE in 129 countries/territories, of which 228 have launched commercial VoLTE networks in 108 countries/territories.
  • 336 launched LTE-Advanced networks in 151 countries/territories. Overall, 369 operators are investing in LTE-Advanced technology in 159 countries/territories.
  • 13 launched networks that support user equipment (UE) at Cat-18 DL speeds within limited geographic areas and six of these supporting Cat-19 (in a limited area), and one of those supporting Cat-20 in selected locations.
  • 254 operators deploying or operating TDD-based LTE or 5G networks, in sub-6 GHz spectrum.
  • 464 operators in 139 countries/territories investing in 5G mobile or 5G FWA/home broadband networks.
  • 180 operators in 72 countries/territories who have announced 3GPP-compatible 5G service launches (either mobile or FWA).


In another report, GSA identified 94 operators in 48 countries (including Malaysia) investing in 5G standalone (SA) for public networks in the form of trials, plans, paying for licences, deploying, or operating networks. As of October 2021 at least 19 operators in 15 countries/territories are now understood to have launched public 5G SA networks. A further four have deployed 5G SA technology but not yet launched services, or have only soft-launched them.

The number of announced 5G compatible devices continues to rise and has now reached 1115. Of these devices, 67.7% are understood to be commercially available.


By end of October 2021, GSA had identified:

  • 22 announced form factors.
  • 165 vendors who had announced available or forthcoming 5G devices.
  • 1115 announced devices (including regional variants, but excluding operator-branded devices that are essentially re-badged versions of other phones), including 755 that are understood to be commercially available:
  • 555 phones, at least 491 of which are now commercially available.
  • 190 FWA CPE devices (indoor and outdoor), at least of which 90 are now commercially available.
  • 156 modules.
  • 71 industrial/enterprise routers/gateways/modems.
  • 48 battery operated hotspots.
  • 25 tablets.
  • 20 laptops (notebooks).
  • 11 in-vehicle routers/modems/ hotspots.
  • 8 USB terminals/dongles/ modems.
  • 36 other devices (including drones, head-mounted displays, robots, TVs, cameras, femtocells/ small cells, repeaters, vehicle OBUs, a snap-on dongle/adapter, a switch, a vending machine and an encoder).
  • 627 announced devices with declared support for 5G standalone in sub-6 GHz bands, 434 of which are commercially available.

GSA says that not all devices are available immediately and specification details remain limited for some devices. It expect the number of commercial 5G devices to surpass the 820 mark by the end of Q4 2021.

[Download PDF] – Evolution from LTE to 5G: Global Market Status – October 2021
[Download PDF] – 5G Device Ecosystem: Executive Summary: November 2021
[Download PDF] – 5G Standalone: Executive Summary: November 2021

Kugan is the co-founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy

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