Fifth-generation or 5G networks have been deployed and went live in 1,947 cities across 72 countries, according to industry data released by Viavi, a network testing solutions provider company. Most of these mobile networks are being operated in non-standalone (NSA) mode, it said on Tuesday.
“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 the new Viavi report.
By the end of January 2022, 72 countries had 5G networks in place, with the newest crop of 5G countries comprising Argentina, Bhutan, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Malta and Mauritius, which all came online in the second half of 2021, as per the report.
There is an industry consensus that many of the next-generation use cases and monetization models that are associated with 5G will be possible with only 5G SA core networks.
The report also highlighted that as of March 2022, 64 operators have publicly announced their participation in the development of Open RAN networks.
Of these, 23 are live deployments of Open RAN networks, and 34 are in the trial phase with a further seven operators that have publicly announced they are in the pre-trial phase.
“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, both for the operator and for the wider ecosystem of users,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO, Viavi Solutions. “And secondly, we expect to see Open RAN continue its rapid development and start to become a de-facto standard.”