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The momentum created by early 5G deployments had been expected to continue with the introduction of standalone (SA) 5G networks, opening up new use cases, particularly for enterprise and industry 4.0. The unexpected interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has instead put a brake on these activities for many operators. However, operators can use this time to fine-tune their networks, re-evaluate their strategies and forward plan in readiness for the return to full 5G commercial rollout.


  • Spectrum availability is a major governing factor affecting capacity, coverage, and network rollout in the majority of deployments.
  • The more aggressive 5G operators have been advancing their plans to introduce standalone 5G deployments, but progress in many cases could be significantly delayed by the effects of COVID-19.

Features and Benefits

  • Understand how spectrum availability is driving operator choices around 5G deployments and early service offerings.
  • Discover how 5G networks are performing, what technical issues are affecting networks, and how they will be resolved.

Key questions answered

  • How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect 5G rollout and the service priorities of operators?
  • How soon will standalone 5G networks start to appear and what use cases can they be expected to support?

Table of contents


  • Catalyst
  • Omdia view
  • Key messages


  • Recommendations for vendors
  • Recommendations for service providers

Market status

  • Speed and scale of 5G deployments
  • Figure 1: Number of commercial 5G launches by region (4Q19)
  • COVID-19 outbreak will impact 5G rollout
  • Some slowing of 5G deployments may not be all bad news

Market dynamics

  • Spectrum is governing deployment strategies
  • Figure 2: Addressable 5G subscriptions – major sub-6GHz bands
  • Figure 3: Addressable 5G subscriptions – mmWave bands
  • Measuring 5G performance
  • Figure 4: NSA EN-DC Option 3 variants

Market outlook

  • Will the move to standalone be fast or slow?
  • Other market challenges


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author