The pace of 5G commercialization continues to ramp up, according to Viavi’s most recent report on the state of 5G, and 42 5G networks are expected to launch this year. That will mean a total of 55 5G networks in place before 2020 — the year that 5G standards are expected to officially be recognized by the International Telecommunications Union.

Thirteen 5G networks — both fixed wireless and mobile — were launched last year, the network measurement company said, and most of the deployments expected to happen this year are in Europe (21) and the Middle East (14), followed by 10 in Asia, eight in the Americans and two in the Australasia region. However, on a country-by-country basis, the U.S. is expected to have the highest concentration of 5G network launches by the end of 2019: six networks, from AT&T, C Spire, Sprint, T-Mobile US, Verizon and América Móvil subsidiary Claro. Several countries, including the U.K., Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and Kuwait, are expected to have three 5G networks launched by the end of this year.

The report, now in its third year, said that “the pace of commercial deployments is a clear indication of the competition to offer 5G services.” At this time last year, Viavi noted, fewer than 30 service providers had reported being in 5G field trials. (Viavi compiles its report information from publicly available sources.)

“Even though the schedule for network launches has accelerated, service providers need to be careful about finalizing architectures, and detailed technical information about deployment plans is still limited at this point,” Viavi said, since standards work is still in progress.

“5G represents a paradigm shift in the way that networks are designed, deployed and managed, introducing inherent complexities in the architecture as well as exacting demands on performance and latency,” said Sameh Yamany, CTO of Viavi. “The anticipated improvements that 5G offers will depend on precise operation of multiple elements throughout the network. As service providers worldwide deploy and activate their commercial networks, they are relying on VIAVI 5G test solutions, from the lab to the field, to ensure optimal customer experience and quality.”

Viavi’s infographic on the state of 5G deployments can be viewed here. (pdf)

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