Two new separate reports from the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) show respective progress on national 5G spectrum considerations around the world, as well as rapid expansion in the 5G device ecosystem.
According to June data from GSA’s Analyser for Mobile Broadband Devices (GAMBoD), 90 5G devices have been announced, up from 33 at the end of March.
Twenty-five of these 5G devices are phones, including at least nine that are commercially available. LG has already launched its V50 ThinQ smartphone, while Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G is also commercially available in the U.S.
In addition, GSA identified seven 5G hotspots, 23 indoor and outdoor CPE devices, 23 5G modules, and two IoT routers, among others. It is unknown whether some of the devices will definitely become commercially available, but GSA said it excluded regional variants and prototypes not expected to be commercialized.
Inseego is listed as working on a 5G mobile hotspot that supports both sub-6 GHz and millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies, as well as two IoT routers with 5G NR options expected to be available this year.
GSA identified 39 vendors that have announced available or forthcoming 5G devices. Some of the vendors include China Mobile, Honor, HTC, Huawei, Lenovo, NetComm, Nokia, OnePlus, Oppo, Quectel, and Sierra Wireless.
As the 5G device ecosystem expands, countries continue to make progress on national 5G spectrum plans.
5G spectrum allocations
In its June assessment, GSA found 61 countries have formally considered introducing certain spectrum bands for 5G, reserved spectrum, have already allocated or have announced plans to auction spectrum for 5G.
“As national regulators plot their countries’ moves towards 5G, there are important choices to be made about which portions of the spectral range should be either dedicated to terrestrial 5G networks and services or at least accessible to 5G networks and services,” GSA said in its report.
The U.S. completed its first two high-band 5G spectrum auctions earlier this year. The 28 GHz auction concluded in January raising about $700 million, while the 24 GHz auction wrapped up in late May raising about $2.02 billion. A third millimeter wave spectrum auction is planned for later this year.
Canada finished an auction for 600 MHz spectrum in April, while Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, El Salvador, Mexico have announced timetables for future spectrum auctions potentially suitable for 5G.
GSA named seven European countries that have completed 5G spectrum auctions, including Finland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Spain and the United Kingdom. Twelve, meanwhile, have completed auctions of spectrum that could potentially be used for 5G. GSA further identified 13 European countries that have confirmed 5G spectrum auctions scheduled between 2019 and 2020 including Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
In the Middle East and Africa, countries that have awarded or auctioned spectrum for 5G include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait. Israel and Singapore each have spectrum auction plans in the works. The Republic of Korea completed 5G spectrum auctions in the 3.42-3.7 GHz and 26.5-28.9 bands in June of last year, while Australia has auctioned 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G. Japan wrapped up a 5G spectrum auction in April 2019.
Overall, 16 countries worldwide have recently finished 5G allocations or licensing procedures in at least one spectrum band, according to GSA.
Nineteen countries have announced specific dates for allocating 5G-suitable spectrum by the end of 2020.
“As the widespread commercial introduction of 5G approaches, the number of 5G spectrum-related initiatives by telecom regulators around the world is growing rapidly,” GSA wrote.
The company noted that up to 25 additional “relevant auctions/tenders/allocations in different bands are scheduled to complete in 2019,” with at least 27 more 5G-relevant planned by the end of 2020.
“With many other countries still to set out their 5G licensing strategies, more will follow in 2022 and 2023,” GSA concluded.