5G Availability Around the World

Most countries will have access to 5G networks by 2020

Picture of the world at night

5G is the newest wireless networking technology that phones, smartwatches, cars, and other mobile devices will use in the coming years, but it won't be available in every country at the same time.

Some estimates, like this one from Ericsson, forecast that 1.5 billion users will be subscribed to a 5G network by 2024, and that coverage will blanket over 40 percent of the world's population.

North America

North Americans have already seen smaller iterations of 5G networks pop up, but it won't take off in most areas until 2020.

United States

5G broadband internet from Verizon is currently available in a few cities. More areas are likely to get at-home and mobile 5G in late 2018 and early 2019.

However, we could see an accelerated (or even slower) release of 5G networks in the United States since the US government proposes nationalizing 5G

When Is 5G Coming to the US? (Updated for 2018)

Canada

Canada's Telus Mobility has given 2020 as the year 5G is available to its customers, but explains that people in the Vancouver area can expect early access.

Rogers Communications is making a 5G test site on campus at the University of British Columbia, set to go live in early 2019. Learn more about the plans Rogers has for 5G to see when they expect a live network.

Mexico

In late 2017, the Mexican telecommunications company América Móvil announced the release of 4.5 networks in anticipation of a 5G release.

Its CEO says 5G should be available in 2020 but could come as soon as 2019 depending on the technology that's available at that time.

Puerto Rico

Wireless provider Claro plans to roll out 5G in Puerto Rico in 2019, between April and June.

Central America

Central American countries will most likely see a slow 5G rollout.

Honduras

Ericsson announced in December, 2018, that Tigo had chosen the company to modernize its radio access network. The deal "includes the provision of a 5G-ready multi-standard network."

There's no word on when 5G will reach Honduras but this agreement is an important first step.

South America

South American countries with the greatest populations will probably see 5G come out in spurts starting in late 2019.

Chile

Entel is the largest telecommunications company in Chile, and has partnered with Ericsson to bring 5G wireless service to Chilean customers.

According to this 2017 press release from Ericsson, “Deployment of the core network projects begins immediately and will be completed in different phases throughout 2018 and 2019.”

Argentina

Movistar and Ericsson tested 5G systems in 2017 and will likely roll it out to customers around the same time that Chile sees 5G.

Brazil

After having signed an agreement to help develop and deploy the technology, we expect Brazil to usher in 5G service starting sometime in 2020.

This time range is also supported by Qualcomm director Helio Oyama, who has stated that 5G will most likely hit Brazil a few years after it’s commercially available elsewhere in 2019/2020.

Paraguay

Telecommunications company Tigo reached a deal with Ericsson to prepare their network for 5G. Ericsson said in December, 2018, that they will "expand TIGO’s existing network and modernize the existing 2G/3G and 4G sites, making the network the best fit for TIGO to deliver 5G and IoT services in the future."

It's not yet clear when Tigo customers will see 5G in Paraguay, but this deal is definitely a good starting point.

Asia

5G is live in a handful of areas, but widespread coverage isn't expected until 2020.

South Korea

These three South Korean companies collaborated to bring mobile 5G to the country on December 1, 2018: SK Telecom, LG Uplus, and KT. They currently provide access with mobile 5G routers since 5G phones aren't set to come out until March of 2019.

The SK Telecom service provider offers 5G to the Myunghwa Industry manufacturing company, located in Ansan, and they plan to provide enterprise customers with 5G in six metropolitan areas: Busan, Incheon, Daegu, Daejeon, Ulsan, and Gwangju. SK began trialing 5G service in 2017 before successfully using 5G in their self-driving test site K-City.

LG Uplus' 5G network went live in Seoul and surrounding locations, with LS Mtron as their first customer. With over 4,000 5G base stations positioned in Incheon, Seoul, and Gyeonggi, the company expects over 7,000 more to be deployed before the end of 2018.

KT Corporation launched 5G at Lotte World Tower in Seoul and six other areas including Jeju, Ulleungdo, and Dokdo, with plans to expand to 24 major cities. The company previously collaborated with Intel to showcase 5G service at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, and plans to invest over $20 billion through 2023 in 5G and other innovative technologies

According to the ICT and Broadcasting Technology Policy director at the Ministry of Science and ICT, Heo Won-seok, five percent of the country's mobile users will be on a 5G network by 2020, 30 percent within the following year, and 90 percent by 2026.

Japan

NTT DOCOMO is Japan’s largest wireless carrier. They've been studying and experimenting with 5G since 2010 and plan to launch 5G service in 2020.

In September, 2018, NTT DOCOMO successfully achieved 25–27 Gbps download speeds in a 5G trial with Mitsubishi Electric. The test could be used to develop a high-speed 5G network that works with vehicles.

According to the company, "The demonstration was conducted during joint outdoor field trials using 28GHz-band massive-element antenna systems and 16-beam spatial-multiplexing technology with 500MHz bandwidth."

DOCOMO and Toyota tested controlling a humanoid robot on 5G in November, 2018. Toyota's robot, T-HR3, was initially tested using a wire but can now run remotely on 5G with low latency. The robot was built to "safely support human activities in a variety of circumstances, such as homes and healthcare institutions."

China

China’s director of Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), Wen Ku, has said that “The goal is to launch pre-commercial 5G products as soon as the first version of standards comes out...”.

Along with the Chinese state-owned telecommunications operator, China Unicom, who's expected to build 5G pilot projects in 16 cities including Beijing, Hangzhou, Guiyang, Chengdu, Shenzhen, Fuzhou, Zhengzhou and Shenyang, is China Mobile who will reportedly deploy 10,000 5G base stations by 2020.

3 Hong Kong is in the early stages of 5G development. They tested 5G outdoors in late 2018 in Causeway Bay, and reached speeds over 2 Gb/s.

However, the United States government has talked about nationalizing 5G in the US to purportedly protect the US from malicious Chinese attacks, and some companies like AT&T have been pressured from the US government to cut ties with phones made in China. This might affect the timeframe for Chinese telecom providers to release 5G.

When Is 5G Coming to China? (Updated for 2018)

Qatar

According to Ooredoo, a telecom company in Qatar that has been working on implementing 5G since 2016, they are the first company in the world to provide commercial 5G access.

At the moment, 5G is only available in Qatar, but since Ooredoo has markets in Iraq, Oman, Palestine, Maldives, Singapore, Algeria, and other countries, it isn't a stretch to think that we'll see 5G reach those areas in 2019–2020.

Vodafone is another company in the process of providing 5G service in Qatar, with the CEO estimating that customers will be able to use 5G before the end of 2018.

Ooredoo is also looking into using 5G for home broadband service.

Kuwait

Two out of three of the telecommunication companies in Kuwait have launched 5G service.

Zain was the first, announcing the 5G launch in June, 2018. On the same day, just hours later, Ooredoo announced similar news.

India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released this PDF in late 2017 that outlines the 5G standard draft and shows a timeframe for when 5G should be deployed around the world.

According to Manoj Sinha, the minister of the Department of Telecommunications, India is set to adopt 5G by that same year: “When the world will roll out 5G in 2020, I believe India will be at par with them.”

On top of that, in August 2018, one of India's largest telecom providers, Vodafone Idea Limited (previously called Idea Cellular), merged with Vodafone (which was the world's second largest phone company before the merger). Vodafone was already preparing for 5G, having set up "future ready technology" in 2017 by upgrading their entire radio network to support 5G.

Indonesia

Anyone who attended the Asian Games this year could have tried out 5G in Jakarta, Indonesia. A special Telkomsel SIM card was needed in order to connect to the network.

It's unclear whether Indonesia will see commercial 5G begin to roll out in 2018 or 2019, or later, but a trial of this size was a great indicator that they're on a track of some sort.

Turkey

Turkcell is Turkey's largest mobile phone operator. In early 2017, the company completed a 24.7 Gb/s 5G trial with Ericsson, and in September of 2018 announced an agreement with Nokia to develop 5G technologies.

In November, the company trialed 5G fixed wireless access solutions with Samsung in Istanbul. Turkcell's CEO commented that "Today, with 5G, we have shown that the latest generation of high-speed wireless access is now possible for our customers. Our goal is clear: to make Turkey one of the first countries in the world with 5G technology."

It's clear that Turkcell is on the right path to providing Turkey with 5G, but it's unclear when, exactly, customers can expect a live network.

Vietnam

Vietnam will likely see 5G in 2020. According to the country's state-owned and largest telecom, Viettel, they'll run 5G trials in 2019 and will have a network ready to introduce the following year.

Thailand

Advanced Info Service (AIS), the country's largest mobile phone operator, is testing 5G in Thailand but hasn't indicated when they plan to go live with a commercial 5G network.

Singapore

StarHub announced in November, 2018, that they, in partnership with Nokia, completed their first outdoor pilot of 5G on the 3.5 GHz frequency band. However, there's no information on when StarHub will have a 5G network ready for Singaporean customers.

Philippines

The wireless communications company Smart has been testing 5G since 2016, and announced in June of 2018 the launch of 5G TehnoLab, their 5G innovation lab. Smart plans to have a 5G-ready network live for customers by 2020.

In November, 2018, Smart rolled out their first 5G cell sites in the Philippines. They were erected in Makati Central Business District (Makati CBD) and at the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga.

In Smart's 5G testing, they've managed to achieve speeds of over 14 Gb/s, and have completed a 5G-enabled video call.

Bangladesh

Although Bangladesh is one of the top 10 most populous countries in the world, it was very slow to roll out 4G and will likely also take much longer than other countries to implement 5G.

However, in early 2018, telecommunications regulator BTRC said that “The world will embrace 5G in 2020. So, we too will have to accept new technology and must move on to 5G. There is no option for procrastination.”

BTCL and Banglalink are two companies to watch for 5G in Bangladesh.

Africa

Vodacom Group, which was the first to introduce 4G, 3G, and 2G in South Africa, is at it again with the release of a 5G trial in Lesotho in August, 2018. They showcased a fixed wireless access (FWA) network using a temporary license in the 3.5 GHz band.

Rain is another South African telecom that plans to roll out 5G. They've estimated a release date of early 2019.

MTN Group Limited partnered with Ericsson in November, 2018, to deploy a fixed wireless access 5G site in Midrand. Although MTN South African hasn't announced a 5G release date, the trials and tests they've performed shows that they're interested in developing 5G use cases and might one day offer customers a 5G network.

Nigeria

Europe

European countries should have 5G access by 2020.

Norway

Telenor is the country's biggest telecom operator, and plans to launch 5G in Norway in 2020.

The company successfully tested 5G in early 2017 before launching three 5G base stations in Kongsberg in November, 2018. They had five families test in-home 5G and will continue running pilots in 2019 until their commercial launch in 2020.

Germany

According to the 5G Strategy for Germany, released by Germany's Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), trial installations would begin in 2018 with a commercial launch by 2020. 5G is planned to be rolled out "over the period to 2025."

Deutsche Telekom announced in mid-2018 that Europe's first 5G antennas were being deployed in Leipziger Straße and Winterfeldtstraße, and that the company would continue rolling out 5G in other parts of Berlin. They plan to cover 90 percent of the country with 5G by 2025.

United Kingdom

The UK's largest network operator, EE, plans to launch 5G in 2019, starting with London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, and Manchester, and then hundreds of other areas before 2020. The company will also be the first in the world to offer the OnePlus 5G smartphone.

Vodafone UK is another big mobile telecommunications provider in the UK, and plans to release 5G in the Lake District and Cornwall sometime in 2019. Vodafone UK is also going to start up 1,000 5G testing sites in 2019.

The company also started 5G trials in Salford, Greater Manchester; tested how 5G can be used in car communications; and successfully completed a holographic phone call using 5G.

After announcing their commitment to invested billions in 5G, UK's Three is another company to watch for a mobile 5G network. They've also tested 5G for home use.

O2 is looking at a 5G network, too, but haven't announced when one will be available. They have, however, tested data transfers using LED lights, which they say is a stepping stone to prepare their network for a 5G launch.

O2 also announced a massive MIMO test in November, 2018, aimed at boosting their London network and providing groundwork for 5G deployment.

CityFibre and Arqiva are two more companies with 5G trials in London. They're in the process of creating a "5G-ready network platform nationwide that will provide the best network at the best economics for Mobile Network Operators."

When Is 5G Coming to the UK? (Updated for 2018)

Italy

TIM (Telecom Italia) is the largest telecom provider in Italy. With the help of Samsung's 5G hardware, the company plans to launch 5G in 2019. According to TIM's CEO, Amos Genish, "We have set ourselves a challenging timescale and will be using every tool available to us to reach our target: to launch 5G services in Italy as quickly as possible."

In November, 2018, the company announced that they used the country's first 5G smartphone prototype to complete their first 5G connection on TIM's 5G network.

Switzerland

In early 2018, Swisscom planned to deploy 5G to select locations in Switzerland before the start of 2019, with full coverage expected in 2020. However, it's looking more like a live 5G network won't be available for consumers until 2019.

In conjunction with Ericsson and Qualcomm, Swisscom successfully completed a data transfer trial in November, 2018. The trial involved a 5G smartphone prototype which connected to a live 5G network in Lucerne. The 5G trial in Lucerne also confirmed that a 5G hotspot from Wistron NeWeb Corporation (WNC) could connect to the 5G network.

The 5G test network was brought online in not only Lucerne but also Zurich, Geneva, Bern, and Burgdorf. Swisscom plans to bring commercial 5G to 60 cities in Switzerland before 2020.

Spain

After purchasing spectrum to implement 5G, Vodafone Spain launched 5G trials in various cities in June, 2018, including Madrid, Valencia, Seville, and Barcelona.

In September, 2018, they installed a 5G network node in La Nave, Madrid.

Finland

The Elisa Oyj telecommunications company in Finland claims to be "first in world to launch commercial 5G." In June, 2018, the company opened a commercial 5G network in Tampere.

In October, 2018, they announced a program to improve urban air quality with 5G sensors that can monitor for air pollutants.

Russia

In 2018, Russia's largest mobile operator, Mobile TeleSystems (MTS), partnered with Samsung to run various 5G tests that included video calls, ultra low latency video games, and 4K video streaming.

These 5G tests were performed to show that not only is 5G coming to Russia but that Samsung's 5G routers, tablets, and other devices are fully capable of running on a 5G network.

According to GSMA, 5G networks will cover over 80 percent of the Russian population by 2025, so it can be assumed that a big portion of the country will have access even sooner.

Another indicator that 5G in Russia is coming sooner than later is the 5G research center that opened in Innopolis, a high-tech city in the Republic of Tatarstan.

Ireland

The telecom giant Vodafone launched in November, 2018, a 5G network trial site in Dublin to test the network before they release a live, commercially available 5G network in Ireland. The trial was of a holographic phone call made between Ireland and Germany.

The company also announced a 5G hub, called NovaUCD, to test new ideas and use cases for how 5G will transform various industries in Ireland.

It isn't completely clear when Vodafone Ireland will have 5G available to its customers, but in early 2018, they reported that a 5G rollout can be expected sometime before early 2020.

Faroe Islands

Føroya Tele is the Faroe Islands' largest telecom provider, and is expecting to roll out full 5G coverage by June of 2019.

Channel Islands

Jersey Telecom (JT) and ZTE have announced that 5G is coming to the Channel Islands. They'll start with a pre-commercial launch mid-2019 for testing 5G.

Sweden

Telia Company is planning a commercial launch of 5G in Sweden in 2020.

In late December, 2018, in collaboration with Ericsson and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, they launched a 5G testbed in Stockholm to experiment with 5G applications.

Oceania

Most major countries in Oceania should see limited 5G roll-out in 2019 and greater availability by 2020.

Australia

Telstra announced in August, 2018, that they had "switched on 5G technology across selected areas of the Gold Coast," giving the state of Queensland the country's first 5G-ready network. They also enabled 5G mobile base stations in Adelaide, Canberra, and Perth in October, 2018. According to the CEO, Telstra will have 200+ 5G-capable sites live before 2019.

In November, 2018, Telstra confirmed that they completed Australia's very first 5G connection on a live network using a commercial 5G chipset. The company's Network Engineering Executive said that they will "continue testing over the coming months to improve data rates and overall performance in readiness for device availability."

Australia's second largest telecommunications company, Optus, is aiming for an early 2019 release of fixed 5G service "in key metro areas." This includes Canberra and Brisbane in January, and others to follow by March, 2019.

Vodafone has provided a 2020 release date for 5G in Australia. This is a reasonable time frame considering that not only is Vodafone the country's largest mobile provider but because lots of other countries will likely adopt 5G by that same year.

New Zealand

Having already been laying the groundwork for 5G, and implementing 5G trials in March of 2018, New Zealand's Spark NZ plans to have a full 5G network ready to go by 2020. They plan to release 5G in metropolitan areas first.

Vodafone is another 5G player in New Zealand, with plans to provide 5G service across the country by 2020.