Latest data reveals that the number of cities with 5G networks stands at 1,947 globally.
Despite the pandemic, 5G cities came online at a rate of nearly two per day, with the addition of 635 new 5G cities in 2021, according to research by Viavi Solutions.
Latest 5G countries
The State of 5G report, now in its sixth year, found that by the end of January 2022, 72 countries had 5G networks in place, with the newest crop comprising Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius, which all came online in the second half of 2021.
Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) has overtaken Asia Pacific (APAC) including Greater China to become the region with the most 5G cities at 839. APAC has 689 5G cities and the Americas has 419.
Unsurprisingly, the world’s two largest economies, the US and China are the countries with the most 5G cities. China has 356 5G cities and the US has 296. The Philippines retained third spot globally with a total of 98 5G cities.
“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”
Most 5G networks deployed are non-standalone (NSA) networks, meaning that 5G equipment is added to existing 4G network infrastructure. There are currently 24 standalone (SA) 5G networks globally, meaning that they have been built using a new 5G core network.
Viavi reports that it is widely considered that many of the next-generation use cases and monetisation 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.
The State of 5G also highlights the growing open radio access network (Open RAN) ecosystem, combining mobile operators as well as software and infrastructure vendors, seeking to develop an open, virtualised radio access network with embedded artificial intelligence (AI) control.