Early adopters of 5G technology have begun to take advantage of numerous initial 5G network rollouts in 2019, according to 5G Americas.

Data from Ovum totals 4 million 5G connections worldwide at the end of the third quarter of 2019, an increase of 166 percent from the second quarter. There are now 50 commercial 5G networks which meet 3GPP standards, and the number is expected to increase to 67 commercial networks by the end of 2019, according to TeleGeography.

“Early adopters in 5G technology are testing the waters to see what their devices can do on the new technology. They’re taking advantage of new capabilities now being offered by several 5G networks that have come online over the past quarter. We expect to see a strong ramp up in 2020 as more devices become available and coverage expands throughout the world,” said Chris Pearson, president, 5G Americas.

Ovum estimates the number of 5G subscribers will accelerate rapidly in the fourth quarter, reaching 12.9 million connections. Ovum forecasts 5G subscribers will reach 1.3 billion by 2023, achieving 12.9 percent global market share.

LTE Still Growing

LTE gained an additional 250 million subscriber connections during the third quarter of 2019 to reach 5 billion connections worldwide. From the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter this year, LTE added approximately 1 billion new connections, fueled by customers migrating from older 3G and 2G technologies.

From Q2 to Q3, LTE’s strength was in the Americas region with 28 million added connections, led by Latin America and the Caribbean, which gained 17 million connections.

“LTE continues its growth in Latin America and the Caribbean as the technology increases its geographic coverage, lower cost smartphones become available and operators adopt strategies seeking to migrate subscribers to LTE that, until recently, were using second and third generation services. Upcoming spectrum auctions in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador and Uruguay could accelerate the deployment of LTE in the region, increasing the technology’s potential addressable market.” said Jose Otero, VP of Latin America and Caribbean at 5G Americas.

Otero said the region has launched three 5G commercial networks and could have more by the end of this year.

Wireless Network Count

TeleGeography’s breakdown of the number of wireless networks deployed through December 11, 2019:


  • 5G: 50
  • LTE: 664

North America:

  • 5G: 4
  • LTE: 19

Latin America & Caribbean:

  • 5G: 3
  • LTE: 125