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Switzerland leads Europe in OMDIA global 5G rankings

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(London UK, June 4, 2020) Global research company OMDIA – formerly known as Ovum – has today released the first version of its 5G Market Progress Assessment (end-2019) report, showing that Switzerland and the UK are leading the way in Europe of the twenty two leading 5G countries analyzed for their deployment of 5G technology.

The OMDIA research assessed the deployment progress of 5G based on operator launches, network coverage, subscriber take-up as well as 5G spectrum availability and regulatory eco-system.

Based on these factors OMDIA’s research concluded that South Korea – as it did in the 4G era – has established itself as the early market-leader for 5G technology deployment with Kuwait and Switzerland following behind. According to the report, South Korea is leading the way with adoption reaching 4.67 million subscribers at the end of December, which equates to about seven per cent of wireless services in the market.

“Limited coverage, device availability and cautious launches has limited take-up in other global markets,” said Stephen Myers, OMDIA Principal Analyst.

In terms of the leading European 5G market of Switzerland, OMDIA commented that progress was being driven by Sunrise and Swisscom.

“In December there were 384 cities and towns in which Sunrise had more than 80% 5G population coverage, and this had grown to 426 localities in January 2020,” added Myers. “For its part, Swisscom achieved its target of 90% coverage with a “basic version of 5G” although devices supporting this network were only to be available in 1Q 2020.”

Meanwhile, in the second-ranked UK market, OMDIA noted that the UK Government was increasingly seeing 5G as a means to deliver nationwide Gigabit coverage.

“The UK Government has identified 5G as a key technology to assist in its goal in delivering nationwide Gigabit broadband by 2025,” said Myers. “The UK government’ £1.1 billion digital connectivity package, including the £400 million Digital Infrastructure Investment Fund will support investment in new fixed and mobile networks, through programs such as the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme.”

The report is based on data relating to the end-December period and was originally due for publication in mid-March but was delayed because of the impact of COVID-19.

Further commenting on the report OMDIA Principal Analyst Stephen Myers said: “Europe is steadily gearing up for 5G deployment but right now Switzerland and the UK are leading the way – although markets like Finland have also made steady progress.

“Across Europe we are seeing governments and regulators fine-tuning their 5G spectrum allocations and operators ready for their 5G launches and expanding network coverage in those countries where 5G has already launched.

“We can expect to see a much larger number of commercial 5G launches in major European markets in the next 12-18 months as more spectrum is released across the continent.”

The full 5G Market Progress Assessment, end-2019 report can be purchased from OMDIA by contacting Karthik.Jayakumar@omdia.com.

Notes to Editors
Ranking Methodology
The ranking used in this report looks to assess the market 5G progress combine the following assessment criteria

  1. Spectrum available – what is the total spectrum that has been released to service providers for 5G use.
  2. Service provider launches – how many service providers have launched 5G commercial services. In future editions this will extend to whether 5G services from MVNO have emerged
  3. Network coverage – what proportion of the population is covered by the live 5G networks. Where specific disclosure has not been made, estimates based on announced deployment programs and coverage maps have been used
  4. 5G take-up – proportion of total mobile services active on the 5G network. This requires both a 5G enabled device and service plan. Omdia notes some service providers are bundling 5G access into existing service plans at no incremental charge.
  5. Ecosystem – a more subjective assessment of factors that enhance the adoption of 5G services and creation of value from 5G services. This includes government policy programs, vendors activities and investment, end-user sponsorship and service provider cooperation that facilitate network deployment and service take-up

The combination of these criteria reflect the readiness in markets yet to launch services and development in markets where 5G services have been launched. While using coverage metrics does advantage small geographies, where a large proportion of the population can be covered with 100’s of base stations rather than 1,000’s or 10,000’s, broad and deep coverage remain prerequisite for the transition of services to 5G. As 5G services mature and as enterprise applications become more central to service provider offerings it can be expected the criteria for assessing 5G progress would evolve.

The criteria used reflect the foundational factors for each market (each allocated a 10% weighting)

  • How much spectrum been made available for 5G services?
  • Have carriers been able to launch commercial services?
  • Is there are supportive local ecosystem promoting 5G services?

The balance of the ranking is split equally between measurable indicators of 5G progress in the form of

  • Network coverage
  • Take-up

The rankings use a relative assessment, effectively assigning Korea a score of 100% for the September quarter due to its global leadership across all five of the assessment criteria:

  • Spectrum – 2,680 MHz across the 3.5 and 28 GHz bands
  • Service launches – all three Korean service providers have commercial offerings available to the mass market, and MVNO services have been launched
  • Network coverage – approximately 80% population coverage
  • 5G take-up – 4.67 million 5G subscribers, or 7% of the mobile market
  • Ecosystem – Strong government support and leading local vendor ecosystem