Tracking 5G: Ookla's coverage map tracks worldwide network rollout

Presently, there are 303 rollouts of 5G mobile networks across 294 locations across the globe, operated by a total of 20 mobile carriers.

Testing Verizon's new 5G network in Chicago CNET's Jessica Dolcourt was one of the first journalists to test the rollout of Verizon's new mobile 5G network in Chicago. Find out the results of her 5G tests.

The rollout of 5G network services is advancing, slowly, as mobile network operators are sprinting to deploy new base stations around the world. Although deployments are occurring, practically being able to use these networks requires a real 5G-capable device (of which, there are currently few) and for the mobile network operator to widely sell access in your region.

Ookla, operator of popular network benchmarking website Speedtest.net, released the Ookla 5G Map on Tuesday. According to Ookla, "Currently, the majority of identified deployments are based on corporate press releases and other publicly available communications. As deployments continue to become commercially available and tests taken with Speedtest use a 5G connection, identified deployments will also be based on Ookla data."

SEE: Special report: How 5G will transform business (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Ookla is currently tracking 303 deployments worldwide from a total of 20 network operators. In the US, 21 deployments are presently detected, of which five are in Texas, four in California, two each in North Carolina and Florida, and one each in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana. Some of these, such as the AT&T 5G network in Louisville, Kentucky, are listed as "Limited Availability" on the map, which Ookla defines as "a 5G network is present but devices are limited to select users." Ookla doesn't count Verizon's proprietary 5G TF equipment used for wireless home internet.

Around the world, Switzerland leads in 5G mobile network deployments, according to the map, totaling 225 of the 303 counted deployments. Italy has three, Spain has two, and Poland, Estonia, and Finland have one each, presently. Barcelona, which is host to Mobile World Congress, has 5G-connected ambulances. There are presently no 5G mobile network deployments in the UK, though Vodafone is planning to start deployments in seven UK cities starting July 3.

South Korea leads Asia in 5G network deployments, with 18 counted on Ookla's map. In the first month of 5G availability in South Korea, 260,000 people subscribed across the country's three mobile carriers. There are seven deployments in China, operated by China Unicom. Japan, which was first to market with 4G LTE due to NTT's involvement in the development of that standard, has no 5G networks at present, though mobile network operators have pledged to spend 1.6 trillion yen ($14.4 billion) over the next five years to build 5G networks, with Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten building their own mobile network.

For more on 5G deployments, learn more about why 5G requires new antenna designs to deliver faster speeds, why wireless ISPs are still necessary in the age of 5G, and a test of Verizon's 5G NR rollout in Chicago.

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By James Sanders

James Sanders is a technology writer for TechRepublic. He covers future technology, including quantum computing, AI, and 5G, as well as cloud, security, open source, mobility, and the impact of globalization on the industry, with a focus on Asia.