Using insight from analyst firm Ovum, 5G Americas predicts that there will be 336,000 5G connections in North America by the end of 2019. That number will account for 47 percent of global 5G connections.
The trade group backed its forecast by touting the already deep penetration of 4G LTE connections in the market that will be the basis for initial 5G deployments. It also noted that all four nationwide operators in the U.S. have announced plans to have commercial 5G networks deployed by mid-2019.
Verizon was the first to launch a 5G network, though its initial offering is based on a proprietary standard. The carrier plans to update that network next year with standards-based equipment. AT&T more recently was the first operator to launch a standards-based mobile 5G network. Both operators are relying on millimeter wave (mmWave) spectrum for their initial deployments, which limits the initial reach of those networks.
The industry trade group said Latin America will lag behind its northern neighbors. Jose Otero, director of Latin America and the Caribbean for the organization, said “it will take at least four to five years before this new technology has a comprehensive footprint in the region.”
Longer term, the Ovum numbers predict 186 million 5G connections in North America by 2023, accounting for 32 percent of the expected 1.3 billion connections worldwide. Those worldwide numbers somewhat align with those provided by equipment vendor Ericsson, which forecasts 1.5 billion 5G connections by 2024.