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GSA: 5G device availability is surging

Mid-band spectrum support is increasing in 5G devices

The number of commercially available 5G devices jumped 41% in the past month, according to new numbers from the Global mobile Suppliers Association, and even more devices are anticipated to arrive on the market before the end of June.

As of mid-April, the GSA reported that there were at least 95 5G devices commercially available around the world, out of 283 devices which had been announced as on-the-way. Those figures include regional variants and phones which can be upgraded to 5G using an adaptor, but not operator-branded devices that are replicas of other phones, or prototypes that aren’t expected to be commercialized.

Vendors are both announcing and producing new 5G devices at a rapid pace. The GSA said that when it comes to 5G smartphones, there are now 108 announced devices — up 21 from mid-March. Of those, at least 64 are commercially available, which is 24 more than last month.

While smartphones are the most common 5G form factor, the GSA has identified a total of 16 5G device form factors. Other available form factors include customer premise equipment for fixed wireless access; 5G modules; and 5G hot spots. GSA said that there are nine 5G hot spots currently available out of 19 which have been announced.

‘‘In what is clearly a very challenging time globally with social distancing and fundamental changes to the way we work and live, connectivity has never been more critical,” said Joe Barrett, president of the GSA. “Around the world we are seeing mobile operators take unprecedented steps to support their subscribers and boost capacity, with 5G a vital part part of their immediate and future strategies. As this data shows, we’re also seeing the vendor community working hard to bring devices to market even quicker to support the rollout and expansion of new 5G services, with smartphones accounting for over 85% of the new commercially available devices recorded this month.

“Based on vendors’ statements, we can expect more than 35 additional announced devices to become commercially available before the end of June 2020,” Barrett added. “At GSA we will be tracking and reporting regularly on these 5G device launch announcements for the industry as we continue to take the temperature of the 5G ecosystem.”

According to the GSA report, 81 vendors have 5G devices available or in the works. Of the devices for which spectrum band support has been identified, the majority of announced 5G devices (70%) have sub-6 GHz spectrum support and around 30% can operate in millimeter-wave spectrum; around 23% of announced devices will support both. GSA also reported that in April, the number of announced devices with support for Band 78 (3.3-3.8 GHz) passed 100 for the first time, reflecting the momentum for mid-band 5G support globally.

ABOUT AUTHOR

Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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