The number of 5G connections reached over 17.7 million globally in 2019, according to 5G Americas.
4G LTE took roughly 10 quarters, or until Q1 2012, to reach 17.9 million connections – roughly where 5G is today. 3G did not reach that mark until December 2010, after 11 quarters. 2G reached it in December 1995, after 14 quarters.
The rapid growth of 5G has been fuelled by an explosion of 3GPP-standard commercial 5G networks deployed. There are now 59 5G commercial networks, a number which is expected to nearly quadruple to 200 by the end of 2020, according to data from TeleGeography.
“With the first year of 5G completed, 2020 is shaping up to be focused on the growth of new 5G devices, increasing coverage, increasing network densification, and probably the first 5G Stand Alone deployments,” Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas, said.
LTE has now reached 5.3 billion connections after ten years of operation.
North America had 587,000 5G connections and 483 million LTE connections. In Q4 2019, North America continued with robust subscription additions of 434,000 5G connections (284 percent Q3 to Q4) and 13 million LTE connections (2.7 percent Q3 to Q4) across the region.
Latin America and the Caribbean ended 2019 with 1,237 5G subscriptions (314 percent Q3 to Q4) and 366 million LTE subscriptions (5.4 percent Q3 to Q4 growth), respectively.
Research firm Omdia projects 5G connections will reach 91 million by the end of 2020. North America will account for 13.9 million. Latin America and the Caribbean will account for an additional 1.5 million subscribers by the end of the year.
Global 4G LTE connections are expected to reach 5.9 billion, of which 513 million will come from North America and 397 million will come from Latin America and the Caribbean.