This sweeping rollout relies on infrastructure capacities, and, as Visual Capitalist's Iman Ghosh notes, many operators are buying in big to usher in 5G adoption. This infographic from Raconteur covers where we are on the roadmap towards 5G becoming mainstream, and which regions are leading the way in connectivity.
From its earliest iterations to the Internet of Things, we've surpassed three generations of wireless networks. Now, 5G is at a tipping point.
5G is unique in that in order to actually start using the network, you need a device that works on it—unlike previous generations where they could simply switch over. Moreover, carriers need to invest in the infrastructure to optimize network access and the density of devices using it.
As more operators buy into the technology, the latter is finally beginning to happen in some areas. Here's how the total numbers break down across the world, as of mid-September 2020:
397 operators are investing in 5G mobile or 5G fixed wireless access/home broadband networks
118 operators have announced the deployment of 5G within their live network
96 operators have announced 3GPP (protocols for mobile telecomms) 5G service launches
Major phone operators and even tech companies are behind accelerating this change, from Vodafone to Verizon—and most recently, Microsoft has entered the playing field.
As Cisco highlights, there's more room to grow yet. By 2023, North America will have the highest share of 5G networks, at 17% within the region.