5G growth remains ‘healthy’ despite pandemic and economic downturn

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Research suggests that a pandemic and resulting economic downturn hasn’t severely impacted 5G rollouts.

While 5G rollouts have slowed, they are continuing at a relatively decent pace.

Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas, said:

“The pace of new commercial 5G network launches has remained healthy through the challenging quarter, as mobile network operators continue to build 5G networks for the long-term.”

In Q2 2020, which covers the first COVID-19 peak, data from TeleGeography suggests a further 30 5G networks went live—bringing the total to 114 globally. By the end of 2020, the global number of commercial 5G networks is expected to double to 204.

5G brings improved speeds and reliability in areas served by the latest generation network; while opening up new opportunities:

This is the current breakdown of 5G and LTE networks available globally and in the Americas, as of September 16th 2020:


  • 5G: 114
  • LTE Advanced: 335
  • LTE: 682

North America

  • 5G: 7
  • LTE Advanced: 12
  • LTE: 23

Latin America & Caribbean

  • 5G: 10
  • LTE Advanced: 49
  • LTE: 125

Jose Otero, Vice President of Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas, commented:

“5G is breaking many records in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is the fastest mobile technology to arrive in the region and the first one included as part of many governments’ national development plans, including Brazil, Colombia, and Chile.” 

We’re all fed up of hearing about the “new normal,” but we should expect changes to our way of life for the foreseeable future. Mobile technology is more vital than ever to keep in touch with family, friends, colleagues, and reaching vital services.

The increased demand for connectivity presents huge opportunities for mobile operators, but also significant responsibilities.

According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report (PDF), global mobile traffic over the past year – including fixed wireless access – has increased by 53 percent. With more businesses now realising the advantages of providing more flexible ways of working, it’s likely we’ll continue to see traffic growing exponentially.

Data from Omdia suggests global 5G connections have reached almost 138 million as of Q2 2020—representing a 116% growth over the first quarter. Omdia predicts there will be 236 million global 5G subscribers by the end of 2020.

Kristin Paulin, Senior Analyst at Omdia, commented:

“We expect growth to pick up in the second half of the year, following the easing of lockdowns as well as continued 5G network expansion and the availability of more 5G devices.”

While much of the excitement and focus is on 5G, the uptake of 4G continues to grow rapidly around the world. Around 5.7 billion 4G LTE connections are expected by the end of 2020.

More data can be found in a 5G Americas whitepaper available here.

(Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash)

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