China leads the world in 5G readiness, followed by South Korea, the US and Japan in that order, according to the report, which was commissioned by US-based trade organization for the wireless industry CTIA.
The countries were ranked based on nations' respective 5G spectrum and infrastructure policies as well as commercial plans by their respective wireless sectors.
The report found that all three major Chinese operators have committed to specific 5G launch dates. The government has also committed to providing at least 100 MHz of mid-band spectrum and 2,000 MHz of high-band spectrum for each operator.
In South Korea, the government is soon expected to free up a combined 1300 MHz of both mid-band 3.5-GHz and high-band 28-GHz spectrum, with an additional 2 GHz of high-band spectrum capable of being utilized for 5G.
While all major US wireless providers are trialing 5G technologies and a number have committed to small-scale fixed wireless 5G launches by the end of the year, the country has yet to announce plan to allocate mid-band spectrum exclusively for mobile by the end of 2020.
“The United States will not get a second chance to win the global 5G race,” CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said.
“Today’s research highlights the importance of policymaker action in 2018 to reform local zoning rules and unlock access to mid-band spectrum as part of a broader spectrum pipeline plan. I’m optimistic we will leapfrog China because key leaders in the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and at the FCC are focused on the reforms needed to win the race.”
In Japan, wireless providers are investing in 5G testing and regulators have committed to releasing mid- and high-band spectrum by early 2019.