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5G Building, But Still A Way To Go: 24 M Subscriptions In 2021

There will be 24 million 5G subscriptions worldwide at the end of 2021 for mobile and fixed broadband services, following the launch of commercial services in 2020, Ovum has forecast.

Regionally, North America and Asia will command the majority of subscriptions, each accounting for more than 40 per cent globally at the end of 2021, to be followed by Europe with more than 10 per cent of subscriptions, followed by the Middle East and Africa.

While Ovum expects that 5G services will be available in more than 20 markets worldwide by the end of 2021, it states that the vast majority of subscriptions will be concentrated in the US, Japan, China and South Korea.

Ovum notes that operators in these markets have revealed aggressive timelines for the launch of 5G services.

“The main use case for 5G through 2021 will be enhanced mobile broadband services, although fixed broadband services will also be supported, especially in the US,” Mike Roberts, Ovum practice leader covering carrier strategy and technology, observed.

“Over time, 5G will support a host of use cases, including Internet of Things and mission-critical communications, but Ovum does not believe those use cases will be supported by standardised 5G services through 2021.”

Ovum notes that, while a number of operators have announced plans to launch what are described as 5G services before 2020, “these will not typically be based on networks and devices complying with 5G standards” and are excluded from its forecasts.

“Ovum defines a 5G subscription as an active connection to a 5G network via a 5G device,” Ovum explains. “5G is further defined as a system based on and complying with 3GPP 5G standards, beginning with parts of 3GPP Release 15, which is scheduled to be finalised in 2018.”

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