The wireless industry has been moving quickly to commercialize 5G networks, and that pace is poised to accelerate this year, with the number of live 5G network deployments more than tripling in 2019, according to a new report from Viavi.
According to Viavi’s The State of 5G Deployments, 13 commercial 5G networks (including both mobile and fixed wireless) were launched in 2018, including AT&T, C Spire and Verizon. Verizon launched its fixed wireless 5G millimeter wave home broadband service in four cities last October, while AT&T lit up its commercial mobile 5G network in limited areas of 12 cities in late December.
By the end of 2019 Viavi’s findings indicate 42 new network launches will happen in 2019, for a total of 55. This includes U.S. operators T-Mobile and Sprint, though most of the deployments will take place in Europe and the Middle East, with 21 and 14 launches, respectively.
Ten launches are expected in Asia by the end of 2019, eight in the Americas, and two in Australia.
Viavi says the results indicate strong competition in the race to offer 5G services, as only 28 service providers were in the field trial phase with 5G architectures at this time last year.
“5G represents a paradigm shift in the way that networks are designed, deployed and managed, introducing inherent complexities in the architecture as well as exacting demands on performance and latency,” said Sameh Yamany, Chief Technology Officer at Viavi, in a statement. “The anticipated improvements that 5G offers will depend on precise operation of multiple elements throughout the network.”
See the infographic below for a list of planned 5G network launches: