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South Korea, US, Australia and Qatar ‘leaders in 5G’

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South Korea and the US are the leaders in 5G deployment, says a new survey, followed by Australia and Qatar.

The 5G Country Leadership Index, compiled by management consultancy Arthur D Little, benchmarks over 40 countries in terms of building and running 5G infrastructure and services.

“Our analysis shows that South Korea is currently the clear leader but that many others are also moving beyond trials to launch 5G networks,” said Karim Taga, managing partner and global practice leader at Arthur D Little. “5G networks are at the heart of future business competitiveness, making their deployment a key priority.”

Regionally South East Asia is most advanced (see chart), says the index, while the US has the most operators involved in 5G and is among the first to launch commercial services.

Gulf countries – the survey identifies the UAE as well as Qatar – are also ahead, while Europe overall lags. The Arthur D Little team says this is “due to heterogeneous infrastructure and fragmentation, as well as outstanding spectrum allocations, with the auction process still ongoing in many countries”.

The survey identifies three other countries as leaders, Finland, Switzerland and Spain. Perhaps surprisingly, Japan and Singapore are listed as followers, along with the UK and Austria.

“We expect adoption to accelerate in Q3/4 2019 as leading brands have launched 5G smartphones and modems at Mobile World Congress this week,” said Taga. “During this year, we foresee that dozens of operators will launch 5G services commercially, eventually improving their rankings.”

The index is based on detailed analysis of technical infrastructure and tendency for 5G commercialisation, said the company. “Leaders have 5G spectrum allocated, high performance backhaul infrastructure in place, have announced ambitious goals for 5G launch or launched already, and have successfully trialled multiple use-cases.”

The survey points out that “major sports events are an opportunity to showcase a leadership position in 5G-enabled industrial ecosystems in combination with media cooperation, as demonstrated by South Korea during the Olympics”.

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