Although 5G networks are still a work in progress for mobile operators, the pace of deployment and launches is picking up. By the end of 2019, according to the GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association), 61 operators in 34 countries had launched one or more 3GPP-compliant 5G services. Of those, 49 operators had launched 5G mobile services, while 34 had launched FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) or home broadband services. Furthermore, the GSA said, 77 operators had deployed 3GPP-compliant technology in their networks and 348 operators in 119 countries were investing in 5G.
3GPP Release 16, which is due to be finalised by mid-2020, is an important milestone because it completes phase 2 of the 5G specification, catering for standalone networks that deliver not only enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) and FWA, but also ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC, important for automotive use cases) and massive machine-type communication (mMTC, important for IoT use cases). Rel 16 also includes specifications around cellular V2X (C-V2X), covering areas like platooning, extended sensors, automated and remote driving.