5G network predictions from GSA

GSA has recently revealed the statistics on LTE and 5G network roll outs in 2020, indicating that 5G remains on track to become one of the fastest adopted mobile technologies ever.
5G network
The GSA report said 140 mobile operators launched commercial 5G networks, in 59 countries / territories in 2020.

There are 806 operators with commercially launched LTE networks (offering broadband fixed wireless access and or mobile services).

423 mobile operators have launched LTE fixed wireless access services (excludes those offering MiFi/dongle services only).

742 operators offer fully mobile LTE services.

237 operators hold licences to use spectrum for TD-LTE services, 166 of which are known to be actively using the spectrum (either deploying networks or have launched services).

357 operators are investing in one or more LTE-Advanced technologies.

210 operators are investing in LTE-Advanced Pro technologies.

412 operators in 131 countries/territories are investing in 5G networks in the form of tests, trials, pilots, planned and actual deployments.

Of those, 140 operators in 59 countries/territories have launched commercial 3GPP-compatible 5G services (either mobile or FWA).

61 operators are identified as investing in 5G standalone (including those evaluating/testing, piloting, planning, deploying as well as those that have launched 5G SA networks).

Over 50 deployed/launched LTE-M networks worldwide.

4×4 MIMO – 151 operators identified as investing, of which 94 have deployed/launched the technology within their commercial networks.

8T8R MIMO and Massive MIMO – 86 operators identified as investing in these technologies; at least 38 deployed/launched.

256 QAM in the DL – 124 operators identified as investing, of which 79 are known to have deployed/launched the technology within their commercial networks.

36 operators are investing in LAA (9 with deployed/launched networks); 12 operators investing in LTE-U (3 with deployed/launched networks); 3 operators investing in LWA (one launch so far).

275 operators are making investment in VoLTE, and 226 operators with launched VoLTE services.

111 operators have deployed/launched NB-IoT networks.

51 have deployed/launched networks LTE-M networks.

Key 5G milestones passed in 2020 included:

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 percent are using LTE technology, 28 percent are deployed over 5G, while 7 percent are using a combination of LTE and 5G.

136 operators have licensed/deployed/deploying C-Band spectrum.

85 licenses with 24 deploying/deployed mmWave at 26/28 GHz.

36 auctions / assignments for 700 MHz are expected by end 2022.

519 5G devices announced from 104 vendors, with 303 commercially available (up from 162 at the end of July).

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.