South Korea leads in 5G rollout, followed by China and Japan

This was one of the key takeaways from the third 5G Observatory workshop, which also highlighted green issues and the need to reconsider geographic coverage.

The latest 5G Observatory workshop: ‘5G in the Digital Decade‘ was an opportunity to review recent findings from the Observatory and exchange views on deployment, market trends and global developments.

Here are some of the key points:

EU lags South Korea and China in 5G base station deployment

Findings from the most recent 5G Observatory report indicate that, proportionate to the population, the EU has fewer 5G base stations than South Korea, China and Japan.

South Korea is the leader, having deployed around 162,000 base stations, or 319 people per base station.

China has nearly 1 million 5G base stations, which is nine times more than the EU and 18 times more than the USA. On a population basis, this works out to 1531 people per base station in China, vs 4224 people per base station in the EU.

Japan has about 50,000 5G base stations, or 2516 people per base station

5G is the greenest network

Gabriel Solomon from Ericsson pointed out that 5G is the most energy-efficient solution as it enables more connectivity.

This is backed by research conducted by Ericsson which found that by 2030, 5G connectivity could help reduce EU emissions by the equivalent of 15% of the bloc’s 2017 total.

A holistic approach on 5G coverage is needed

Janette Stewart from Analysys Mason argued that because 5G may have industrial and agricultural uses there is a need to account for its reach in terms of geographic coverage, as well as the more traditional mobile metric, population coverage. She said that 3.5 GHz rollout to 60% of existing macro sites in European markets could provide good levels of population coverage but might be less than 20% of the geography.

She also highlighted a recent report by Analysys Mason which assesses the differing costs of 5G rollouts in based on a variety of bands and coverage scenarios.

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