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31 APAC operators involved in 5G trials

A total of 72 operators worldwide - including 31 in Asia-Pacific - are involved in 5G trials, according to data compiled by VIAVI Solutions.

A report [PDF] from the network testing and monitoring solutions provider found that of the 31 APAC operators that have announced 5G trials, nine are at the field trial stage and a further 10 have commenced lab testing.

The APAC operators involved in field trials are Korea's KT, SK Telecom and LG Uplus, China Mobile, China Unicom, Japan's NTT DoCoMo, Singapore's StarHub and Hong Kong's SmarTone and Hutchison Telecom.

Australia's Telstra and Optus, Singapore's M1, Japan's SoftBank, Taiwan Mobile, the Philippines' Smart Telecom, Malaysia's Celcom Axiata, Sri Lanka's Dialog Axiata and Vodafone are meanwhile involved in lab testing.

Globally, there are nearly three times the number of operators involved in 5G trials than there were at the same time last year, and 28 have progressed to field trials.

The current 5G trial speed record is claimed by the UAE's Etisalat (71Gbps). Seven operators – including M1, Optus, Dialog and StarHub – have claimed speeds of over 35Gbps.

Both Etisalat and Ooredoo have meanwhile launched pre-commercial 5G services with limited availability.

Meanwhile 14 network equipment vendors have announced their involvement in 5G trials. Ericsson is involved in the largest proportion of 5G trials (30%), followed by Huawei (22%), Nokia (21%) and ZTE (7%).

“Expectations for 5G are sky-high, offering mobile operators new opportunities for revenue,” IHS Markit executive director of research and analysis for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics Stéphane Téral commented.

“Yet the path to full 5G adoption is complicated and still evolving. Operators and infrastructure vendors across the globe are moving at varying speeds when it comes to testing and deployment — they need to act now to address technology challenges.”