5G Americas reports that 5G technology has been deployed commercially in 15 mobile networks worldwide and that there will be 47 more 5G deployments by the end of this year.

While 5G is all the rage, 5G Americas aptly points out that 4G LTE is also still in growth phase. Ovum, which is quoted in the release, says LTE had a 51% market share and 4.4 billion global connections during the first quarter of this year.

“LTE continues its momentum worldwide, at the same time that 5G becomes a commercial reality in many parts of the world,” said 5G Americas President Chris Pearson in a press release. “The mobile wireless industry has worked hard to provide technical innovation for both LTE and 5G for the benefit of customers globally.”

According to 5G Americas, 646 networks around the world currently support LTE and 299 LTE-Advanced networks were up and running during the first quarter of the year. The group also says that 60 networks “may be considered” LTE-Advanced Pro. All but two of these have deployed Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) and/or LTE for Machine-Type Communication (LTE-M) 3GPP Release 13 technology features for the Internet of Things.

There are 445 million LTE connections in North America, according to the press release. In March, the air interface reached 121% penetration, which equates to 1.2 connections per person, and its market share reached 87%, which is the highest in the world.

The study said that three national operators in the United States have 5G in numerous markets. A fourth is expected to follow suit this year. Although the organization did not mention carriers by name, the three national U.S. carriers that have deployed 5G are AT&T, Verizon and Sprint, with T-Mobile expected to follow. Other highlights:

  • LTE NB-IoT and/or LTE-M has been deployed by 5 U.S. and Canadian operators
  • LTE is forecast to reach 473 million connections at the end of 2020 (including M2M)
  • 5G connections are forecast to reach 4 million by the end of 2020 and increase to 186 million by the end of 2023

The report shows incremental increases for LTE and LTE-Advanced. In March, 5G Americas said that LTE was deployed on 637 networks worldwide and that 294 of these were LTE-Advanced.