Viavi Report Shows ‘Rapid Surge’ In Global 5G Deployments


By Catherine Sbeglia

As of January 2020, commercial 5G networks have been deployed in 378 cities across 34 countries, representing a “rapid surge” in the spread of 5G technology, according to a new Viavi Solutions report on the state of 5G deployment.

South Korea leads the pack with 85 cities with a 5G deployment, followed by China with 57, the United States at 50 and the U.K. with 31 cities.

“South Korea historically has placed a strong emphasis on ubiquitous fiber deployment, which is a critical technology necessary for mobile 5G to achieve its fullest potential. Plus, the country also is home to global network equipment manufacturers actively working to advance 5G,” Viavi CTO Sameh Yamany offered as an explanation for South Korea’s monumental lead.

The report also showed that, regionally, EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) leads the way with 168 cities with 5G networks. Asia comes in a close second with 156 cities, following by the Americas, which boasts 54 cities covered by 5G.

Yamany stated in a press release that 5G operators are experiencing a “mixture of optimism and fear.”

“The optimism is related to a plethora of new commercial applications that could change operator economics for the better, even though they may not feel the commercial impact for some time,” he said. “The immediate fear is that they will get left behind in the short-term marketing battle by rival operators if they’re not fast enough in their landgrab.”

Sameh continued, “Nonetheless, very quickly, the overarching driver will change from simply having 5G network availability to having the best 5G networks. Even as operators continue their 5G build-out, they will simultaneously have to shift gears from network validation and verification through to advanced analytics and automated network troubleshooting. The race for the best 5G network has only just begun.”

When comparing the latest 5G deployment numbers to those gathered just two years ago, it is impossible not be blown away by just how quickly operators around the world have responded to 5G.

In February 2018, only two service providers had launched pre-commercial 5G services, and only 28 service providers were in field trials with 5G architecture, according to Yamany. Further, in early 2019, VIAVI reported that a total of 13 commercial 5G networks had been launched across nine countries during 2018.


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