Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor
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Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.

GSA 5G Ecosystem – July 2020 -Devices update

July 8, 2020

The GSA 5G Ecosystem July 2020 report announced that 5G devices have continued to climb swiftly, accompanied again this month by a continued rapid rise in the number of 5G devices that are commercially available. In January 2020, the number of announced 5G devices exceeded 200 for the first time; by end-June 317 devices had been announced, of which 135 were understood to be commercially available (up from 112 at the end of May).

By end June 2020, GSA had identified:

  • 16 announced form factors (phones, head-mounted displays, hotspots, indoor CPE, outdoor CPE, laptops/notebooks, modules, snap-on dongles/adapters, industrial grade CPE/routers/gateways, drones, robots, tablets, TVs, a switch, modems and a vending machine).
  • 86 vendors who had announced available or forthcoming 5G devices.
  • 317 announced devices (including regional variants, and phones that can be upgraded using a separate adapter, but excluding prototypes not expected to be commercialised and operator-branded devices that are essentially rebadged versions of other phones), including 135 that are understood to be commercially available:
  • 135 phones, (up 16 from May), at least 95 of which are now commercially available (up 12 in a month). Includes three phones that are upgraded to offer 5G using an adapter.
  • 85 CPE devices (indoor and outdoor, including two Verizon-spec compliant devices not meeting 3GPP 5G standards, and enterprise grade CPE/routers/gateways).
  • 49 modules.
  • 21 hotspots (including regional variants).
  • 5 laptops (notebooks).
  • 21 other devices (including drones, head mounted displays, robots, snap-on dongles/adapters, a switch, tablets, TVs, USB terminals/dongles/modems and a vending machine).

Not all devices are available immediately and specification details remain limited for some devices.

Growth of 5G phones and FWA CPE

The most prevalent 5G devices are phones and FWA CPE. The number of announced devices in each of these categories has grown strongly over the past 18 months. The number of announced 5G phones has more than doubled since the end of 2019 and is up by 55% over the last three months.

Twenty-nine vendors have now produced or announced plans to produce 5G phones. Meanwhile, 53 vendors have now launched or announced plans to launch their own 5G CPE devices (indoor, outdoor or enterprise grade CPE/routers/gateways).

Spectrum band support of 5G devices

Availability of information about spectrum support is improving as a greater number of devices become commercially available. GSA has identified some spectrum support information for just over 82% of all announced devices: 76.3% of all announced 5G devices are identified as supporting sub-6 GHz spectrum bands while 26.5% are understood to support mmWave spectrum. Just 20.5% of all announced devices are known to support both mmWave and sub-6 GHz spectrum bands.

Only 31 of the commercially available devices (23.0% of them) are understood to support services operating in mmWave spectrum, but 88.9% of the commercially available devices are known to support sub-6 GHz spectrum. The bands known to be most supported by all announced 5G devices are n78, n41, n79 and n77. At the end of June, the number of announced devices known to support Band n79 had passed the 100 mark for the first time, reaching 101 devices, while the number of announced devices supporting Band n41 had reached 128 and the number of announced devices supporting band n78 had reached 148.

GSA expects the device ecosystem to continue to grow quickly and for more information about announced devices to become available as they reach the market. Based on vendors’ previous statements and recent rates of device release, we might expect to see the number of commercial devices approaching the 200 mark by the end of Q3 2020, (although many device launch timetables were announced before COVID-19 had an impact on businesses worldwide, so there is potential for the number of new launches to be lower than this). GSA will be tracking and reporting regularly on these 5G device launch announcements. Its GAMBoD database contains key details about device form factors, features and support for spectrum bands. Summary statistics are released in this regular monthly publication.

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