US Surpasses China as World Leader in 5G Cities with 69% Growth in Network Deployment

According to a recent report by Viavi Solutions, the United States has overtaken China for the first time as the global leader in the number of cities with 5G networks, with 503 cities as of May 2023, a growth of 69% from the previous year. In comparison, China has remained stagnant at 356 cities with 5G networks. However, China is still ahead of the US in other key 5G metrics, such as data speeds, 5G subscribers, and deployed base stations.

The report also found that 5G connectivity has reached a tipping point worldwide, with the technology being active in 47 of the world’s 70 largest economies by GDP. Furthermore, there are now 2,497 cities globally with commercial 5G networks strung across 92 countries, and an additional 23 countries have pre-commercial 5G trials. While 32 countries are planning to implement 5G networks, only 48 countries have not publicly announced plans for 5G, most of which are small island nations.

The manufacturing sector accounts for approximately 44% of publicly announced private 5G network deployments, but there are numerous other sectors, such as IoT applications like smart factories and smart cities, that offer potential opportunities.

Standalone (SA) 5G networks are gaining momentum globally, and as of January 2023, there are 45 SA 5G networks in 23 countries, nearly double the number of non-standalone networks globally in the same period last year. This growth in SA 5G networks is expected to bring about more of the long-promised commercial benefits of 5G.

The United States, China, and India are leading the deployment of millimeter wave (mmWave) technology, which offers higher speeds, lower latency, and higher capacity but has lower ranges of connectivity and requires additional equipment, such as repeaters and small cells, to boost coverage. Several countries are licensing mmWave technology in efforts to grow revenue streams and advance 5G proliferation. The report predicts that a major focus in the coming year will be network quality and the further development of Open RAN technologies.

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