Worldwide opposition to 5G has been ongoing for years. This has limited, slowed and/or stopped deployment in some places but obviously not others. Since 2017 doctors and scientists have asked for moratoriums on Earth and in space (see 1, 2) and the majority of scientists oppose deployment. Since 2018 there have been reports of people and animals experiencing symptoms and illnesses after it was activated (see 1, 2, 3, 4). In 2019, telecom executives gave U.S. congressional testimony that they had NO scientific evidence that 5G is safe. Some researchers have also claimed that 5G activation may be contributing to COVID-19 infections while others say it’s not. Nevertheless, research has determined that there are health risks associated with 5G exposure as well as exposure to 4G and other sources of wireless Wi-Fi radiation (see 1, 2) and Electromagnetic Fields (aka “Electrosmog”). Got pets? Exposure can affect them too.
Regardless, 5G has officially been launched in various locations – maybe even your neighborhood.
5G networks were activated at a rate of almost two cities per day during 2021, according to Viavi Solutions
5G continues its deployment momentum around the world, while the shift toward Standalone is picking up, according to newly released figures from Viavi Solutions. As of March 2022, the test company said that based on publicly available information, 5G networks have been launched in 72 countries around the world, with 1,947 cities having 5G networks.
The countries where 5G has been newly launched include Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius, Viavi said, noting that all of those countries’ 5G networks launched in the second half of last year.
China and the United States are the countries with the most 5G cities, at 356 and 296 respectively. But on a regional basis, the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region has surpassed the Asia Pacific region (including China) in terms of deployed 5G networks, with 839 5G networks in EMEA compared to 689 5G networks in APAC. There are 419 5G networks in the Americas, by Viavi’s count.
While the vast majority of global 5G networks have been deployed as NonStandalone (NSA), where an LTE core network is required to anchor 5G and carry control plane traffic, there does continue to be movement toward 5G Standalone, which requires the implementation of a 5G core. Viavi says there are two dozen 24 5G SA networks deployed around the world, and noted that “It is widely considered that many of the next-generation use cases and monetization models associated with 5G, beyond enhanced Mobile Broadband (eMBB) will only be possible when Standalone 5G networks built on new 5G core networks are in place.” Network slicing functionality, for instance, is only achievable in an end-to-end 5G SA network.
Alongside the development of 5G, Viavi is also tracking the development of the Open RAN ecosystem, where as of last month 64 operators around the world have announced their participation. Viavi says there are currently 23 live Open RAN deployments, 34 trials in progress and another seven operators who have said publicly that they are in the pre-trial phase of Open RAN work.
“5G continued to expand, despite the headwinds of a global pandemic,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO of Viavi Solutions. “What comes next in 5G is the reinforcement of networks. This will take a couple of forms. Firstly, we expect to see more Standalone 5G networks, which will deliver on much of the promise of 5G, both for the operator and for the wider ecosystem of users. And secondly, we expect to see Open RAN continue its rapid development and start to become a de facto standard. VIAVI will continue to play a central role in testing those new networks as they are built and expanded.”
Viavi’s infographic can be viewed below and is available here (pdf). For more insights from Yamany about the development of 5G networks and related trends, check out this piece and Yamany’s session from Test and Measurement Forum, available for viewing on YouTube.