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5G reaches 1.6 bllion users, marking 71% leap in global adoption

As 5G networks finish out their fourth year of commercial operation, the global 5G landscape continues to see remarkable progress across many key markets. As of Q3 2023, the world added 537 million 5G connections, bringing global totals to 1.6 billion, which represents an increase of 71 percent over the past year. This growth trajectory suggests an optimistic outlook for the future of 5G adoption according to 5G Americas, the voice of 5G and beyond in the Americas, and data from Omdia.

“The global 5G landscape shows positive momentum as innovation and collaboration continue to be the mainstays for long term progress.” said Chris Pearson, President of 5G Americas. “With the World Radio Conference wrapping up, it is important that international co-operation and efforts continue to ensure that spectrum and technology standards continue to propel this growth.”

Looking ahead, Omdia forecasts that the global 5G connection base will likely reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2023 and 7.9 billion by 2028, as 5G-Advanced network improvements are implemented and work towards 6G is completed. While this represents a significant expansion, it is important to note that this growth may not be linear. Factors such as infrastructure development, spectrum availability, device availability, and consumer demand will continue to influence the pace of adoption as different regions and segments continue to adopt the technology.

Overall, North America continues to be a leading region in 5G deployment, with 176 million connections as of Q3 2023. This represents the addition of 22 million new connections in the last quarter, or 14 percent quarter over quarter. This translates to a 26 percent market share and 46 percent penetration rate, highlighting the region’s significant commitment to advancing 5G technology. Within the region, some national operators have already also deployed or are in the process of deploying 5G Standalone networks.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 5G adoption is still in its early stages. However, the region is demonstrating encouraging progress. Q3 2023 saw an increase of 7 million LTE connections, bringing the total to 572 million. While 4G remains dominant, 5G connections are expected to quadruple in 2023, reaching 46 million. Looking further ahead, forecasts predict that the region will reach 492 million 5G connections by 2028, highlighting the potential for significant growth.

“4G LTE and 5G continue to be important mobile communications technologies for Latin America”, said Jose Otero, Vice President of Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas, “Upcoming spectrum auctions and more mass-market access to 5G devices in 2024 will create more robust opportunities for 5G success in the region.”

Kristin Paulin, Principal Analyst at Omdia said, “The current 5G landscape presents a cautiously optimistic picture. By addressing new opportunities through innovation and cooperation the industry can ensure that 5G reaches its full potential and unlocks its transformative impact on our lives.” 5G Americas

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