Global wireless 5G adoption reaches rapid acceleration phase | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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After three full years of growth, a time in which the power of next-generation networks has been shown clearly in the use case of mobile video, global wireless 5G adoption is set to grow from half a billion connections by the end of 2021 and to reach 1.3 billion by the end of 2022.
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The research was undertaken by Omdia and TeleGeography on behalf of 5G Americas, the wireless industry trade association and voice of 5G and LTE for the Americas.

According to Omdia, growth from the end of the third quarter of 2021 to the end of the calendar year was sharp. It noted that 303 million 5G connections were added year-on-year, representing a 139% increase from 218 million to 521 million, and sequentially 19% growth quarter over quarter from 437 million in Q3 2021 to 521 million in Q4 2021. Omdia expects 5G to double connections to 1.3 billion in 2022, nearly double again in 2023 to 2 billion connections, and reach 4.8 billion by the end of 2026. Of that, 516 million is expected to come from North America and 301 million from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Overall, the number of 5G commercial networks has reached 216. That number is expected to reach 330 by the end of 2022 and 352 by the end of 2024, representing strong 5G network investment growth in many regions throughout the world.

By region, North America had a total of 72 million 5G connections by the end of 2021, which is an addition of 54 million 5G connections for the year – a year-on-year gain of 292%. Additionally, the region had 514 million LTE connections by the end 2021, which represents near full market maturity. Although 301 million 5G connections are expected for Latin America in the Caribbean by 2026, 4G LTE remains the dominant wireless cellular technology in the region today with 495 million connections. That represents 17% annual growth with the addition of 72.6 million new LTE subscriptions year over year. Omdia expects 4G LTE growth will remain strong in Latin America and the Caribbean through 2022 with the addition of 43.2 million new 4G LTE connections, as 5G adoption begins to overtake 4G LTE.

“During 2021 5G coverage really expanded, making 5G an option for a lot more people. The major operators in the US have more than 70% coverage,” commented Omdia principal analyst Kristin Paulin. “In Canada, 5G really expanded for the three major operators during 2021, with each ending the year with 70% coverage. This is compared to between 24% and 45% coverage, depending on the operator, at the same time last year.”

Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas added: “We are now out of the opening stages of this generation of wireless cellular technology, as 5G is rapidly getting into the hands of consumers and businesses, who are finding innovative new ways to use mobile connectivity.”