5G network coverage outlook
5G coverage growing but varying between regions
- 5G mid-band population coverage is expected to reach 30 percent outside of mainland China at the end of 2023.
- Mid-band combines high capacity with good coverage, making it an ideal choice for delivering the full 5G experience, however, further densification is needed.
- Around 280 5G networks have been launched worldwide.
4G population coverage is expected to be around 90 percent globally at the end of 2023 and is projected to reach around 95 percent in 2029. There are currently 822 4G networks deployed worldwide, with 341 upgraded to LTE-Advanced and 68 being Gigabit enabled.1
The build-out of 5G continues, with around 280 networks launched worldwide. Global 5G population coverage is forecast to reach 45 percent at the end of 2023 and is projected to increase to around 85 percent in 2029.
Figure 23: World population and mid-band coverage split by region (end of 2023)
5G coverage varies across regions
Mid-band combines high capacity with good coverage and is available in most markets, making it an ideal choice for delivering the full 5G experience. Combined with a low-band frequency division duplex (FDD) 5G carrier, it can provide full coverage and mobility. While 5G mid-band population coverage is anticipated to reach around 40 percent worldwide by the end of 2023, it is now set to reach about 30 percent outside China. The increase outside China is mainly driven by large mid-band deployments in India, but also by several mid-band deployments in Europe during the year.
China has built a 5G population coverage of 95 percent, mainly through mid-band deployments. Meanwhile in Europe, there is a disparity between total 5G population coverage, expected to reach 70 percent, and mid-band coverage, which is expected to reach 25 percent at the end of the year.2 This is due to the limited availability of mid-band spectrum in some countries, resulting in deployments being mainly low-band. North American service providers have deployed 5G across low-, mid- and high-band frequencies, with low-band now covering around 95 percent. During recent years, mid-band has also been rapidly deployed and is predicted to reach around 85 percent population coverage at the end of 2023.
Figure 24: World population coverage by technology
Globally, 5G population coverage is set to reach around 85 percent at the end of 2029.
1. Ericsson and GSA (October 2023).
2. Both of these figures are excluding Russia.