In this post, we examine the state of 5G in 2020. And while the United States is seeing good growth with this technology, it lags in average download speeds.

Last year, we presented a post asking and answering: Do YOU Know What 5G Is? In March 2020, we noted that a BI Intelligence study found that “39% of respondents to our survey saying they plan to support 5G in IoT products and services before 2021.”


The State of 5G in 2020 — Where the World and U.S. Are


Klint Finley and Joanna Pearlstein, writing for Wired, present a good overview: 

All the things we hope will make our lives easier, safer, and healthier will require high-speed, always-on internet connections. From artificial intelligence and self-driving cars to telemedicine and mixed reality to as yet undreamt technologies. As a result, the mobile industry has introduced something called 5G — so named because it’s the fifth generation of wireless networking technology.

The promise is that 5G will bring speeds of around 10 gigabits per second to your phone. That’s more than 600 times faster than the typical 4G speeds on today’s mobile phones. As well as 10 times faster than Google Fiber’s standard home broadband service. Fast enough to download a 4K high-definition movie in 25 seconds, or to stream several at the same time.

Eventually anyway. While US carriers have introduced 5G networks in dozens of cities, the first ones aren’t nearly that fast. At first many carriers began rolling out 5G by building atop their 4G or LTE networks, which produced lots of connectivity, but not at the speeds most associated with 5G. Gradually, the major American telecom carriers have introduced standalone versions of their networks, meaning they don’t piggyback on existing infrastructure.

Click the image to image to read more from Wired.

The State of 5G in 2020

5G Adoption Globally

Now, we turn to Jennifer Wills, reporting for Investopedia:

Countries that want to stay competitive in the global economy are adapting to 5G technology at an increasingly rapid pace. The race to see which country will have the best 5G network has begun in earnest. Communication service providers around the world are battling one another to build-out, validate, and deploy commercial 5G networks.

      • South Korea, China, and the United States lead the world in building and deploying 5G technology.
      • Telecommunications operators around the world —i ncluding AT&T Inc., KT Corp, and China Mobile — have been racing to build the fifth-generation (5G) of wireless technology. 
      • As more devices connect to the Internet, the need for high-speed 5G networks becomes more critical.
      • Even smaller countries like Sweden, Turkey, and Estonia have taken significant steps to make 5G networks commercially available to their citizens.

To read more from Investopedia, click here.

Typical 5G Download Speeds

According to Niall McCarthy, writing for Statista, the U.S. lags in 5G download speed:

OpenSignal collected data between May 16 and August 14. And it found that Saudi Arabia has the fastest average download speeds of any country at 414.2 Mbps. More than 14 times faster than its 4G network. South Korea has exceptionally fast broadband and mobile networks. Its 5G rollout certainly upholds its reputation with average download speeds of 312.7 Mbps, five times faster than its 4G network.

The United States lags behind other countries in download speed. BUT,  it makes up for it with network availability. OpenSignal elaborated on why that is: “The low-band spectrum is ideally suited to enable great 5G reach . And to allow users to spend more time connected than in countries with higher frequency 5G spectrum.”

“In the U.S., the low-band 5G services of T-Mobile and AT&T help drive a high 5G availability result.” Furthermore, “T-Mobile U.S.’s very recent launch of standalone access 5G should help 5G services in the future”. Smaller geographies like Hong Kong and Kuwait tend to have higher availability rates for 5G. Therefore, the analysis gives network operators Australia and the U.S. immense credit for having availability Statistrates higher than the UK and Switzerland.

Statista’s infographic indicates 5G download speeds for several countries.

The State of 5G in 2020


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