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5G networks are deploying at a faster rate than 4G networks did ten years ago

It's projected that we'll see 90 million 5G connections globally by the end of the year.

Published onMarch 25, 2020

5G logo neon sign taken at MWC 2019

According to data from industry analyst firm Omdia via the 5G Americas organization, 5G networks are deploying faster than 4G networks did ten years ago. The trend is strongly suggesting that we should see the networks of the future faster than expected.

It took about 10 quarters — roughly from the end of 2009 to the beginning of 2012 — for 4G networks to see about 17.9 million connections. 5G has already achieved that number, and it only took a year. For comparison, 3G took 11 quarters to meet that number, and 2G took 14 quarters to do the same.

Omdia predicts 5G connections will reach 91 million globally by the end of 2020, roughly quadrupling its current state. North America will account for 13.9 million of that projected total, and Latin America and the Caribbean will account for an additional 1.5 million subscribers.

Related: These are the best 5G phones you can buy right now

However, these numbers likely don’t factor in the issues the world faces with the coronavirus pandemic. For example, the 3GPP — the organization that determines the standards for wireless technologies — announced today that it will delay the rollout of two new 5G protocols by three months. It is very likely other setbacks will happen, too.

Still, these numbers from 5G Americas are encouraging. With the wireless industry in a downturn even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the fast rollout of new networks should help drive sales of new phones that can actually connect to those networks. We’ll just need to wait and see if these rollout projections actually come to pass.

Read next: Here are all the US cities with 5G coverage

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