A total of 72 network operators are already testing 5G – nearly three times the number conducting trials at this time last year – with 28 of those reporting they are in field trials, according to VIAVI Solutions' newly released industry data on the State of 5G Trials around the globe.
An additional 28 operators have announced plans for 5G trials. Even more significantly, two service providers in the Middle East have launched pre-commercial 5G services with limited availability – Etisalat and Ooredoo.
As mobile operators race to deliver next-generation services for subscribers and IoT connectivity, the pace of 5G field trials and deployments has rapidly accelerated during the past six months, said VIAVI.
According to VIAVI, reports from ongoing 5G trials indicate that a handful of operators are reaching blazing fast data speeds. In fact, four operators have reported reaching a speed of 70 Gbps — Etisalat, Proximus, Telenor and Zain. The average speed, however, is much lower, with six operators claiming speeds in excess of 35 Gbps, and another six reporting a speed of 10 Gbps.
Despite the fact that the 3GPP 5G new radio specification has only recently been completed, 14 network equipment manufacturers have announced involvement in 5G trials. To date, these trials have been conducted across a broad range of bandwidths, ranging from sub-3 GHz to 86 GHz. Of the operators disclosing their test spectrum, the most commonly trialed wavelength is 28 GHz, with 21 operators using it, followed by 15 GHz.
The complete “State of 5G Trials” infographic is available here.