Global 5G operators testing or trialling 5G

81 operators in 42 countries are testing or trialling 5G technologies to explore pre-5G standards and develop 5G systems

By the start of September 2017, 81 operators in 42 countries have demonstrated or are testing, trialling or have been licensed to begin 5G field trials says a new report 5G Update by GSA.

Between them they have announced over 140 separate demonstrations, tests or trials. The past eighteen months have seen substantial investment in developing, lab testing and running field trials of 5G. The development of 5G systems has moved well beyond equipment vendors’ labs and into operators’ networks.

Joe Barrett, President, GSA said, “We have been able to identify a wide range of operators usually working in close cooperation with GSA Member companies that have announced over 140 separate demonstrations, tests or trials. Key pre-standards 5G technologies are being explored operating in spectrum bands not previously used for mobile telecoms services; 28 GHz has been the spectrum band most often utilized.”

Key pre-standards 5G technologies being explored include new radio (NR) interfaces operating in spectrum bands not previously used for mobile telecoms services; network slicing to support delivery of services tailored to specific types of customer or service; combinations of technologies such as massive MIMO, or complex beamforming that are needed to achieve very high speeds; or backhaul, cloud and edge computing arrangements to support very low latencies.

None of the trials can yet be said to be 5G trials, as the 3GPP standardisation processes are not yet complete. At this stage GSA views them all as trials of pre-standards 5G technologies.

The process for standardising new radio networks capable of running alongside existing LTE networks, the Non-standalone (NSA) mode for enhanced mobile broadband use-case, are due to be finalised in March 2018. Standards for Standalone (SA) 5G NR mode for enhanced mobile broadband networks are targeted to follow in September 2018.

Operators Testing or Trialling 5G:

Operator – Country

Cable & Wireless Communications (Flow) – Antigua

Ooredoo – Qatar

Optus – Australia

Telekom Romania – Romania

Telstra – Australia

Megafon – Russia

MTS – Russia

Rostelecom – Russia

Tattelecom – Russia

Tele2 – Russia

Vimpelcom (Beeline) – Russia

Austria – Austria

Batelco – Bahrain

beCloud – Belarus

Proximus – Belgium

Telenet – Belgium

Claro – Brazil

Bell Canada – Canada

Telus – Canada

China Mobile – China

China Telecom – China

China Unicom – China

Tele2 Eesti – Estonia

Elisa – Finland

Sonera – Finland

Bouygues Telecom – France

Orange – France

Deutsche Telekom – Germany

Telefonica – Germany

Vodafone – Germany

Hong Kong – Hong Kong

Smartone – Hong Kong

Magyar Telecom – Hungary

Telkomsel – Indonesia

Fastweb – Italy

Linkem – Italy

Telecom Italia – Italy

Vodafone -Italy

Wind – Italy

KDDI – Japan

NTT Docomo – Japan

Softbank -Japan

Viva- Kuwait

LMT – Latvia

Alpha – Lebanon

Celcom Axiata – Malaysia

Telenor – Norway

PLDT – Philipines

Smart – Philippines

TIM – San Marino

STC – South Arica

Zain – South Africa

M1 – Singapore

Singtel – Singapore

Starhub – Singapore

KT – South Korea

LG U+ – South Korea

SK Telecom – South Korea

Telefonica – Spain

Dialog Axiata – Sri Lanka

Mobitel – Sri Lanka

Telia – Sweden

Swisscom – Switzerland

Chungwha – Taiwan

Far Eastone – Taiwan

AIS – Thailand

True Corp – Thailand

Turk Telekom – Turkey

Turkcell – Turkey

Du – UAE

Etisalat – UAE

Arqiva – UK


Vodafone – UK

Lifecell – Ukraine

AT&T Mobility – USA

C Spire – USA

Sprint – USA

T-Mobile – USA

US Cellular – USA

Verizon Wireless – USA

Source: GSA 

Spectrum Bands

Around the world regulators are working out what spectrum bands to free up for 5G. In the meantime, operators have been working in many of the candidate spectrum bands. The 28 GHz band has been most used. Note that some trials involved more than one spectrum band.

Network Throughput

One of the key metrics being reported is the peak throughput of the various demonstrations, tests and trials. The demonstrations and trials are not really comparable, as they use varying amounts of spectrum, and different types of equipment, in contrasting physical environments, and for a range of applications. Nonetheless it is interesting to note that many of them report that speeds well in excess of 1 Gigabit per second have been achieved.


5G networks are expected to have substantially reduced latency compared with current mobile networks. This is another key metric for demonstrations and trials, as vendors and operators seek to achieve the 5G benchmarks.

Many more trials are anticipated in coming months, and with a number of cities now identified as the locations for early 5G test bed networks, one can expect to see more detail about emerging 5G network performance.


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