Commercial 5G launches rebounded in the second half of 2022 as operators in developing markets – and notably Africa – turned on their networks. That’s one of the key findings of 5G Tracker, a report from Kagan, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence.
5G Tracker lists at least 238 mobile operators serving 94 markets worldwide that had launched commercial 5G services as of year-end 2022.
Developing markets, especially in Africa, were in the spotlight for recent commercial 5G launches, the report found, as operators in many developed regions had already launched 5G in previous years. The switch from non-standalone to standalone 5G is slowly picking up, it added, but the lack of demand for 5G itself has caused some operators to be tentative about making the switch.
5G Tracker also said that Ericsson and Nokia remained the leading 5G infrastructure vendors in terms of total customers and associated network deployments, while China’s Huawei Technologies was still the leading vendor in terms of total 5G small cell unit shipments and related deployments, thanks to its massive home market, where more than 2.31 million 5G small cells were active at the end of December 2022.
Twenty-four new operators were added to the list of 5G launches in the second half of 2022. Africa had nine new launches in this period, the most since Kagan began tracking 5G launches in 2018. These included Orange SA in Botswana, Safaricom PLC in Kenya, Société Française de Radiotéléphone (SFR) SA in Réunion, MTN Group in Nigeria and Zambia, Telkom SA SOC Ltd. in South Africa, Vodacom Group in Tanzania and Unitel SA in Angola.
As most operators in developed markets have already deployed commercial 5G services, Kagan expects launches in the succeeding months to come from developing markets in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
More details on these findings are available on the 5G Tracker page.