In the first quarter of 2023, 5G adoption continued to set a torrid pace, putting the fifth generation of wireless cellular technology on track to add nearly a billion new connections each year. Data from Omdia and 5G Americas indicates strong penetration in the North American market, even as new 5G network buildouts are accelerating around the world.

Chris Pearson, president of 5G Americas said, “With North American 5G networks online, we’re experiencing a strong subscription cycle for 5G in the U.S. and Canada. At the same time, other 5G markets are emerging, creating the potential for billions of new 5G connections. Key ecosystem players will have a huge role in providing new technical features and capabilities to fulfill the promise of 5G globally."

The latest data from Omdia reveals a significant progress on 5G as 157 million new global 5G connections were added between Q4 2022 and Q1 2023. This surge in adoption sets the stage for even more accelerated growth throughout 2023, with the number of global 5G connections projected to approach the 2 billion mark. The forecast indicates an extraordinary trajectory, as the global 5G connections are predicted to reach a staggering 6.8 billion by the end of 2027. This translates to an average annual growth of nearly one billion new connections, highlighting the unprecedented scale and impact of 5G technology.

North America continues to assert leadership in 5G wireless connectivity, as continued adoption fuels additional demand for improved 5G network services. By the end of Q1 2023, the region boasted an impressive tally of 133 million 5G connections and a staggering 503 million LTE connections. The 5G penetration rate in the North American market is steadily climbing and currently stands at nearly 36 percent, as 14 million new 5G connections came online during the first quarter of 2023.

Kristin Paulin, principal analyst at Omdia said, “Initial 5G deployments have laid a strong foundation and now operators are focused on standalone 5G and beyond to advance 5G and bring about further innovations. By 2025, 5G is expected to be the dominant mobile technology in North America. And, in the four years from the end of 2023 to the end of 2027, Omdia forecasts 5G in North America will grow 184% to reach 601 million subscriptions.”

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 4G LTE networks continue to demonstrate resilience and robust growth in Q1 2023. The region recorded a formidable 553 million 4G LTE connections, reflecting a quarterly growth of 2.1%, and the equivalent of 11 million new LTE subscriptions. Additionally, by the end of 2023, the region is projected to quadruple its number of 5G connections to reach 62 million. The region is estimated to reach 407 million 5G connections by 2027.

According to Jose Otero, vice president of Caribbean and Latin America for 5G Americas, “5G and LTE Mobile wireless continue to progress and be the foundation for broadband connectivity in the region. Recent spectrum assignment processes in Guatemala, Peru, and Uruguay showcase the region’s government interest in expanding LTE and working toward enabling 5G growth in their markets. As more assignment processes occur and 5G handsets become accessible for the mass market, 5G will become a reality for many regional subscribers."

Overall, the number of 5G commercial networks globally has reached 267, according to data from TeleGeography and 5G Americas. That number is expected to reach 386 by the end of 2023 and 413 by the end of 2025, representing strong 5G network investment growth in many regions throughout the world. The number of 5G and 4G LTE network deployments as of June 15, 2023, are summarized below:

5G:

  • Global: 267
  • North America: 14
  • Caribbean and Latin America: 28

4G LTE:

  • Global: 703
  • North America: 17
  • Caribbean and Latin America: 129