Number of 5G subscribers to reach 236 mn: Omdia

Telecom operators have added 225 million 5G subscribers between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020, according to data provided by Omdia.
5G spectrum auction in DutchThere were 229 million 5G subscriptions globally as of December 2020. The number of 5G subscribers is expected to reach 236 million globally by the end of 2020.

Overall in Q3 2020, an additional 29 5G networks went live, bringing the total up to 143 5G commercial networks globally, a number which is expected to reach 180 by the end of 2020, according to data from TeleGeography.


5G:  143

LTE Advanced: 338

LTE: 680

North America:

5G: 9

LTE Advanced: 10

LTE: 21

Latin America & Caribbean:

5G: 11

LTE Advanced: 49

LTE: 124

In addition, the growing availability of 5G-enabled devices has also been a boon to customers and the industry, as 69 percent of quality-led service providers have launched commercial 5G smartphones for their networks, according to the latest Ericsson Mobility November 2020 Report.

The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) noted there are 519 5G devices announced, of which 303 were commercially available by the end of November 2020.

4G LTE is surpassing year-end projections of 5.73 billion to reach 5.8 billion by the end of Q3 2020. Of those projections, 506 million 4G LTE connections will come from North America and 406 million will come from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Regionally, North America had 3.4 million 5G connections and over half a billion LTE connections, by the end of Q3 2020. For the region, this amounts to 47 percent quarterly growth in 5G, a gain of over 1 million 5G connections over the quarter. It represents 3 percent growth in LTE, a gain of 14 million LTE connections over the quarter.

High-speed mobile connections continue growing in the Latin America region due to the increase in the number of urban areas with 5G services in Brazil and the ongoing expansion of LTE into suburban and rural localities in Colombia and Peru.

New spectrum assignment processes in Chile, Dominican Republic, and Peru will accelerate the arrival of more 5G networks in the region, consolidating its role as the fastest growing mobile technology to arrive in Latin America and the Caribbean.

With 5G just beginning in Latin America and the Caribbean, the region saw 1189 5G subscriptions added in the quarter, for a total of 4874, representing 32 percent sequential quarterly growth.

By the end of 2020, Omdia was forecasting Latin America and the Caribbean would account for an additional 184,000 5G connections. However, 5G has had a slower than expected start in Latam and subscriptions are likely to fall short of that projection. In contrast, LTE continued its strong growth, ending Q3 2020 with 391 million LTE subscriptions (4 percent QoQ growth).