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Leaders are emerging in the 5G race
As we draw close to 5G becoming a commercial reality – it is interesting to observe the different progress taking place in countries around the world. There is tremendous activity taking place with network upgrades, spectrum allocation, government policy and trials and testing being conducted in every region, with some taking greater strides than others. Amongst all of this activity; there are a number of countries emerging as 5G leaders.
To effectively advance with 5G, it is important to have the right mix of backbone infrastructure, 4G LTE coverage, government support, spectrum management and operator trials and testing.
Regionally, Europe remains a global workhorse in the development of mobile technologies, services and applications. Vendors within the region have been at the forefront of technological progress, and they remain so with the ongoing migration to 5G. Ultimately, European MNOs will likely take several years to roll out 5G technology, concentrating in the first instance on high-density city centres, identified hotspots (tourist and industrial areas) before extending to smaller cities and finally rural areas.
In the Asia-Pacific market, it is expected that Australia and China will be two of the top five of markets that will drive 5G growth. 5G testing is now well underway in most developed markets across the region including Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, China, South Korea and Taiwan. Testing is also underway in a growing number of developing markets across Asia including such as Azerbaijan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Several countries are at the forefront of 5G development in the Middle East. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular are demonstrating significant progress. The UAE has the appropriate infrastructure in place to take advantage of 5G as it boasts one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates, substantial 4G LTE infrastructure and is considered one of the telecoms leaders in the region. Qatar has allocated spectrum frequencies to Etisalat and Du for 5G deployment use.
The major operators in the USA, led by AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile US, have partnered with vendors to trial 5G technologies and services and will be expanding their commercial services. In addition, operators are working on the potential of NB-IoT, LTE-U and LTE-A technologies, in some respects as complementary technologies supported by 5G.
- To progress to 5G - countries need to have substantial 4G infrastructure in place as it is an evolutionary process.
- The development of devices for 5G has escalated substantially in 2019.
- In 2019 nearly 100 countries are conducting their own trials and testing of 5G.
Companies mentioned in this report include:
AT&T, Bouygues Telecom , BT, China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, du, EEE, Free mobile, freenet, Huawei, KDDI, KT, LGU+, Mobily, Nokia, O2/H3, Optus, Orange, Saudi Telekom, SFR Group, SK Telecom , StarHub, Telstra, T-Mobile, Verizon, Vodafone, Xiaomi, ZTE.