A year later, North America contributed an additional 20,000 customers, bringing the total to 23,250 subscriptions globally. All told, it took approximately ten quarters, or until the first quarter of 2012, for 4G LTE networks to reach 17.9 million subscriptions, approximately where 5G is today. In the case of 3G, the network did not reach this mark until December 2010, after 11 quarters, the difference being even greater compared to 2G. In this case, only in December 1995, after 14 quarters, that goal was reached.
Contribution to the "explosion" of 3GPP standard commercial 5G networks
According to 5G Americas, the rapid growth of the 5th generation mobile network was driven by an "explosion" of 3GPP's standard commercial 5G network deployments, the organization responsible for the management and standardization of technology. There are currently 59 commercial 5G networks, a number that is expected to quadruple to 200 by the end of 2020, according to data from TeleGeography.
In terms of geographic distribution, by the end of 2019, North America was at the top of the list, with 587,000 5G subscriptions and 483 million LTE technology. These figures mean an increase of 284% over the third quarter of last year across the region. Latin America and the Carabas ended last year with 1,237 5G subscriptions, an increase higher than that of the United States, this time by 314%, and 366 million over the LTE network.
Regarding forecasts, consultancy Omdia predicts that 5G subscriptions will reach 91 million worldwide by the end of 2020, with North America representing 13.9 million by itself. As for 4G and LTE networks, they are expected to reach 5.9 billion, with North America standing out again, which should have 513 million.
Despite the encouraging data now released, the truth is that even 5G has not been immune to the new Coronavirus that is leaving millions of people at home around the world. In Portugal, for example, the consultation of the auction of the 5th generation of the mobile network was postponed indefinitely and, in the French case, the situation was even more serious, in a country where the auction's beginning was also postponed.