5G network coverage outlook

5G population coverage has reached 35 percent

Key findings
  • 4G population coverage has surpassed 85 percent, while 5G coverage has reached 35 percent.
  • Globally, 5G mid-band population coverage has reached around 30 percent. However, outside China it is just over 10 percent.
  • There are large variations between regions, ranging from 7 percent to 90 percent.

4G population coverage surpassed 85 percent globally at the end of 2022 and is projected to reach over 95 percent in 2028. There are currently 816 4G networks deployed worldwide, with 336 upgraded to LTE-Advanced and 62 Gigabit enabled.1

The build-out of 5G continues, with around 240 networks launched worldwide. Global 5G population coverage reached around 35 percent at the end of 2022 and is projected to increase to about 85 percent in 2028.

Figure 21: World population and mid-band coverage split by region (end of 2022)

Large regional variations in 5G population coverage

Mid-band is a sweet spot for delivering the 5G experience, as it combines high capacity with good coverage and is available in most markets. Combined with a low-band frequency division duplex (FDD) 5G carrier it can provide full coverage and mobility. While 5G mid-band population coverage reached 30 percent worldwide by the end of 2022, outside China it is estimated to be just over 10 percent.

There are large regional variations in total 5G population coverage as well as mid-band coverage. Regions such as Latin America and Middle East and Africa have reached about 7 percent mid-band population coverage, with a similar total 5G population coverage of around 8 percent.

China has built 5G population coverage mainly on mid-band and has reached coverage of around 90 percent. Europe has large variation between 58 percent total 5G population coverage and mid-band coverage of around 15 percent (both figures excluding Russia). This is due to the limited availability of mid-band spectrum in some countries, resulting in deployments being mainly in low-band. North America has 5G deployments across low-, mid- and high-band frequencies. Several service providers have deployed 5G on low-band, covering around 95 percent. During recent years, mid-band has been rapidly deployed and has now reached around 80 percent.

Figure 22: World population coverage by technology

Note: The figures in these graphs refer to coverage of each technology. The ability to utilize the technology is subject to factors such as access to devices and subscriptions.

Globally, 5G population coverage reached 35 percent at the end of 2022.

1. Ericsson and GSA (May 2023).

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