February 2020 My count is 34 telcos actively selling 5G to consumers. 2019 ended with ~19 million active subscriptions. ~14 million were in China and almost all the rest were in Korea. 93% of Korea is covered and ~10% of China. No other carriers have enough subscribers to be willing to reveal the count. Europe is going very slowly, except for Eir which is serving 25% of Ireland. Bravo Xavier Niel.

China intends 150 million by the end of 2020 and Korea 15 million. With decent phones down to $285, those goals are realistic The year started slowly and then came Corona. There's a large stimulus coming after Corona which may pull China back on track. Unless some carriers move strongly, growth in the West will be modest until the IPhone 5G arrives in the fall.

The U.S. has been going slowly, although last year Sprint reached 11% of the nation. Sprint has golden spectrum - 160 MHz at 2.5 GHz - that is the best range to build today. T-Mobile will soon take over, The plan at Sprint was to build very quickly, reaching well over half the country from existing towers. That's also the likely plan at T-Mobile, which has committed to bring 100 Mbps to 80% of the U.S. quickly. It also pledged to invest as much as the two companies did when independent, about $10B/year. 

T-Mobile would than have the best network in the U.S.; AT&T and Verizon, which are currently lowering capex, would have to invest more to catch up.

Will T-Mobile accelerate in a few months when the deal closes? Or will they hold back? If the former, the U.S. would quickly become #2 with China in the lead. 

Japan has world class engineers at NTT DOCOMO who could build as soon as the money becomes available. They have said nothing about how much or when.

Below, the 34 companies I've confirmed are actively selling to consumers. 30 more have made announcements but I haven't seen evidence they offer substantial commercial service. 

Country Company Subscribers (M) Radios %population Date deployed
           
Australia Telstra   320+   6/1
Australia Optus   300   Sept 2019
           
Austria Hutchison Drei Austria   100   2019
           
Bahrain Batelco        
           
China China Mobile 6.7 50,000 10% 2019, 50% 2020 6/15/2019
China China Telecom 8 40,000 10% 2019, 50% 2020 6/15/2019
China China Unicom ?5 40,000 10% 2019, 50% 2020 6/15/2019
China China Broadcast       2020
China country     130,000 10%  
           
Finland Elisa   100's   7/1/2019
           
Germany Vodafone       7/15/2019
Germany Telefonica       2020
Germany DT   450   10/1/2019
           
Ireland Vodafone       8/1/2019
Ireland Eir/Free     25% 3/1/2020
           
Italy Vodafone       6/1
Italy Telecom Italia        
           
           
Japan Country         >Q1 2020
           
Kuwait Viva        
Kuwait Ooredoo        
           
Korea Korea Telecom 1     4/1/2019
Korea LG+ 1     4/1/2019
Korea SK 2     4/1/2019
Korea country   5M 2019, 15M 2020 Over 100K 93% 2019  
           
New Zealand Vodafone   100    
           
Qatar Vodafone       7/15/2019
Qatar Ooredoo       7/30/2019
           
Saudi Arabia Zain   2,600   6/1/2019
Saudi Arabia STC   several hundred    
           
Spain Vodafone       6/15/2019
Spain Telefonica        
           
Switzerland Swisscom       6/1/2019
Switzerland Sunrise   >400   6/1/2019
           
UAE Etisalat     80% 6/1/2019
UAE Du        
           
UK BT     8% 2019 6/1/2019
UK Vodafone       6/1/2019
UK Telefonica       10/1/2019
UK Three       10/1/2019
           
U.S. Verizon       4/1/2019
U.S. Sprint     5-8% 6/1/2019
U.S T-Mobile       7/1/2019
U.S. AT&T       yearend 2018
U.S. US Cellular       3/1/2020

 

dave ask

@davescomm

Rethinking Jan 27: Coronavirus could invalidate all projections. I reported on AIDS for 2 years. This could be worse because it spreads in air. Let us hope and pray.

Details on all 5G phones, as prices drop to $285 ** All actual 5G networks worldwide ** Facebook ordered to repost Italian fascist page. ** Apple China sales down 35%** Qorvo sees 300M 5G 2020 & 750M 2023 mmWave <10%

** Bharti demands India Gov more than double prices and enforce cartel. Sunil Mittal "Situation is dire. It is a matter of survival for everyone." ** Wi-Fi 6 meets ITU 5G criteria @stephenjcrowley ** Samsung $8B for Chinese memory plants ** Morgan paying billions for Altice fiber

Dec 10 Sprint bringing $300-500 5G phones to US 2020. Nokia, Lenovo, HMD ** H., Apple, and AMD doing 5 nm test runs on TSMC's 5 nm. Early results are 15-30% better than 7 nm ** AT&T low-band 5G built to >65% US. Speeds slower than 4G at launch. ** 

Verizon CEO Ronan Dunne: >1/2 VZ 5G "will approximate to a good 4G service" Midband in "low hundreds" Mbps ** CFO John Stephens says AT&T is going to cut capex soon. ** Huawei in 16 days sold 1,000,000 5G Mate 20s.  

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Welcome  Asia is installing hundreds of thousands of 5G radios and adding 5G subs by the tens of millions. The west is far behind. 200,000,000 in 2020

The demand is there, and most of the technology works. Meanwhile, the hype is unreal. Time for reporting closer to the truth.

I'm Dave Burstein, Editor. I've been reporting telecom since 1999. I love to hear from readers and say thank you when you find an error. daveb@dslprime.com

Also see

analysisbranch.com,

fastnet.news

huaweireport.com