The US and Asia is outpacing the UK when it comes to the adoption of 5G connections, new figures have revealed.

According to CCS Insight, the overall number of 5G connections around the world is set to reach nearly 60 million by 2020.

Forecasts also suggest the one billion mark could be hit and possibly exceeded by 2023, with the figure rising to 2.7 billion by 2025.

CCS Insight believes this strong surge is being driven partly by greater agreement on 5G standards, as well as operator commitments to the technology.

However, the figures indicated that much of this growth is being seen in developed US and Asian markets, with commercial deployments of 5G possibly coming as soon as later this year.

China has been identified as one particularly notable area of growth in the 5G market, with the number of connections set to hit 100 million by 2021, before passing one billion in 2025.

This means that within the next seven years, the country will account for almost 40 per cent of global 5G connections.

As a result, Europe could be left behind, as its rate of 5G adoption is much slower.

CCS Insight put this down to a number of factors, such as greater regulation, market fragmentation and the desire of operators to concentrate on 4G networks.

Kester Mann, principal analyst covering operators at CCS Insight, commented: “The industry might be struggling to establish the business models for investment in 5G, but this isn’t stopping leading operators battling for bragging rights to launch the first networks. 

“Competitive forces and the need for capacity are the leading drivers of early deployment, although we caution this could set unrealistic expectations for initial network capability.”

Marina Koytcheva, vice president of forecasting, added that the first 5G smartphones will start to emerge in 2019, but be relatively few in number. 

As a result, she believes the “real ramp-up” will come in 2021, when more than 350 million 5G handsets will be sold worldwide.

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