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Visualizing the State of 5G Networks Worldwide



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Visualizing the State of 5G Networks Worldwide

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By 2025, the world will reach 1.8 billion 5G connections—led by Developed Asia and North America, two regions that could each see nearly half of mobile connections operating on 5G networks.

This sweeping rollout relies on infrastructure capacities, and many operators are buying in big to usher in 5G adoption. This infographic from Raconteur covers where we are on the roadmap towards 5G becoming mainstream, and which regions are leading the way in connectivity.

Commercial Launches of 5G Networks

From its earliest iterations to the Internet of Things, we’ve surpassed three generations of wireless networks. Now, 5G is at a tipping point.

5G is unique in that in order to actually start using the network, you need a device that works on it—unlike previous generations where they could simply switch over. Moreover, carriers need to invest in the infrastructure to optimize network access and the density of devices using it.

As more operators buy into the technology, the latter is finally beginning to happen in some areas. Here’s how the total numbers break down across the world, as of mid-September 2020:

  • 397 operators are investing in 5G mobile or 5G fixed wireless access/home broadband networks
  • 118 operators have announced the deployment of 5G within their live network
  • 96 operators have announced 3GPP (protocols for mobile telecomms) 5G service launches

Major phone operators and even tech companies are behind accelerating this change, from Vodafone to Verizon—and most recently, Microsoft has entered the playing field.

Cross-Generational Mobile Connections, By Region

As Cisco highlights, there’s more room to grow yet. By 2023, North America will have the highest share of 5G networks, at 17% within the region.

Region≤ 3G4G5GLPWA
Asia Pacific23%52%13%12%
Latin America37%50%2%16%
North America1%45%17%37%
Western Europe13%43%16%28%
Central & Eastern Europe31%50%2%16%
Middle East & Africa73%22%1%4%

*Low-power wide-area (LPWA) networks are a generic type of network that can coexist across 2G, 3G, and 4G. Network shares may not add up due to rounding.

Meanwhile, the Middle East and Africa could have the most catching up to do, with 73% of the region still operating on 3G networks or less in 2023. The good news? Commercial 5G trials in Nigeria may signal the potential of networks leapfrogging ahead.

Need for Speed

As the number of 5G networks tick up, there will be an undeniable boost to mobile and broadband speeds (Mbps) across regions by 2023. In particular, Asia Pacific will have the fastest broadband speeds at 157 Mbps while Western Europe will lead with 62 Mbps on mobile.

RegionMobile (2018)Mobile (2023)Broadband (2018)Broadband (2023)
Asia Pacific14.345.762.8157.1
Latin America8.028.815.759.3
North America21.658.456.6141.8
Western Europe23.662.445.6123.0
Central & Eastern Europe12.943.035.087.7
Middle East & Africa6.924.89.741.2

Faster speeds is one of several factors catapulting the promise of 5G networks to unlock transformations across entire industries, from manufacturing to healthcare.

What further advancements could dial reach region’s share of 5G networks all the way up?

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