According to research company Omdia’s 5G Market Progress Assessment (end-2019) report, the UK is ranked sixth out of the 22 leading 5G countries analysed for 5G deployment.
The Omdia research assessed the deployment progress of 5G based on commercial operator launches, network coverage, subscriber take-up as well as 5G spectrum availability and regulatory environment.
Based on these factors, Omdia’s research concluded that South Korea – as it did in the 4G era – has established itself as the early market-leader for 5G technology deployment with Kuwait and Switzerland following behind. According to the report, South Korea is leading the way with 5G adoption, reaching 4.67 million subscribers at the end of December, which equates to seven per cent of wireless services in the market.
“Limited coverage, device availability and cautious launches has limited take-up in other global markets,” said Stephen Myers, Omdia Principal Analyst. “However, expansive coverage rolled out by Sunrise and Swisscom in Switzerland, Ooredoo and Vodafone in Qatar and Kuwait’s three service providers has rivalled Korea for breadth of market coverage.”
In terms of the UK market, Omdia observed that with all four major operators now launching commercial 5G services, the focus would now fall on operators’ ability to scale up 5G coverage across the country, noting that the UK Government is investing money to ensure rural areas also benefit from 5G deployment.
“The UK Government has identified 5G as a key technology to assist in its goal in delivering nationwide Gigabit broadband by 2025,” said Stephen Myers, Omdia Principal Analyst. “The UK government’s £1.1 billion (€1.24bn) digital connectivity package, including the £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will support investment in new fixed and mobile networks, through programmes such as the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.
“Right now the UK is second only to Switzerland in terms of 5G deployment in the European market and as things stand is well positioned to lead its continental rivals in the deployment of 5G – giving it a potential advantage in terms of developing next-generation industries.”
The report is based on data relating to the end-December period and was originally scheduled for publication in mid-March but was delayed because of the impact of Covid-19.