Eight out of ten mobile operators are already trialling and testing 5G technology, with 12 per cent gearing up for a commercial deployment by the end of 2018, according to a new report from IHS Markit.

The race for 5G leadership has been contested on a global basis, but IHS says North America has a clear lead over Asia, with Europe further behind.

The US has benefited from its existing leadership in 4G as well as its advantages in technology and research.

But there is a belief that the scale of investment in China’s network infrastructure could see it take the lead in the not-too-distant future.

The first commercial 5G services will go live in the US later this year, offering Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband in major cities.

The first compatible smartphones will launch at some point in 2019.

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