47 operators in 24 countries worldwide have been investing in public 5G SA networks (in the form of trials, planned or actual deployments) according to GSA. In addition, a number of these are testing, piloting or deploying 5G standalone technologies for private networks.
Two operators have launched public 5G SA networks. T-Mobile in the USA uses spectrum at 600 MHz nationwide and RAIN in parts of Cape Town in South Africa to support 5G FWA services. Meanwhile, Telstra in Australia has deployed a 5G core network and has stated it is ready to launch its 5G SA network once a sufficient range of suitable devices is available in the Australian market. In addition to these three, at least nine other operators are understood to be planning initial 5G SA launches during 2020.
Nearly all operators with stated 5G SA investment plans have so far either launched, or plan to launch, 5G non-standalone networks first and to launch 5G standalone networks later.
With 5G SA networks just beginning to be launched, around 153 announced devices with claimed support for 5G standalone from 39 vendors are there in the market. Of those, 81 devices are already commercially available from 18 vendors. Phones make up the large majority (nearly 73%) of the commercially available devices with claimed 5G SA support, followed by indoor and outdoor CPE and modules.
The 72 devices that have been announced but not yet released commercially, modules account for nearly 42% of the group, with indoor/outdoor CPE and phones following at nearly 24% and nearly 21% respectively. The overwhelming majority of the announced 5G SA-capable devices support sub-6 GHz spectrum bands however, only 16 have confirmed mmWave support and only five of those are understood to be commercially available. The industry association expects support for spectrum bands above 6 GHz to increase in the coming months, as mmWave is being promoted as an option for deployment of private 5G networks by regulators in various countries.
In 2020, devices be it mobile phones or indoor/outdoor CPE will play a big role in the launch of 5G SA networks in any country for a given spectrum band.