Global Progress to 5G report July 2019.
293 operators in 98 countries are actively investing in 5G.
Between them, operators have announced over 600 separate 5G demonstrations, tests or trials that we have been able to identify.
Early tests and trials focused on: new radio (NR) interfaces operating in spectrum bands not previously used for mobile telecoms services; network slicing to support delivery of services tailored to specific types of customer or service; combinations of technologies such as massive MIMO, or complex beam-forming that are needed to achieve very high speeds; and backhaul, cloud- and edge-computing arrangements to support very low latencies. Tests being conducted by more advanced players then evolved to include: the launch of pilot 5G networks; delivery of calls end-to-end; and tests of 5G applications such as 5G connected drones, stadium applications, holograms and connected vehicles. Recent tests have been looking at issues such as: interoperability of SA 5G NR with core network systems; delivery of 4K ultra-HD CCTV and broadcast services; and use of 5G for robotic surgery. Trials have also focused on testing the spectrum bands likely to be used in any given country, with a lot of activity in C-band spectrum and spectrum at 28 GHz.
One of the key metrics of global progress to 5G has been the reported the peak downlink throughput of the various demonstrations, tests and trials. The demonstrations and trials are not really comparable, as they use varying amounts of spectrum and different types of equipment, in contrasting physical environments and for a range of applications. Nonetheless, it is interesting to note that many of them report that speeds well in excess of 1 Gigabit per second have been achieved. Trials for very high speeds are proofs of concept; it is not expected that commercial 5G networks will be able to deliver the very highest speeds indicated in the chart below for some time to come.