As of today, the following companies are planning to launch, or are already launching, 5G satellites into low orbit around the Earth:
SpaceX, based in the United States, has plans for 42,000 satellites, has already launched 120, intends to launch 60 at a time twice a month during 2020, and is developing a larger rocket that can launch 120 at a time. As soon as 420 satellites are in orbit, it plans to turn them on. That could be as early as February 2020.
OneWeb, based in the United Kingdom, has plans for 5,260 satellites and intends to launch 30 at a time every three to four weeks beginning in January 2020. As soon as 300 satellites are in orbit, in late 2020, it plans to turn them on.
Telesat, based in Canada, has plans for 512 satellites, and intends to begin service in 2021.
Amazon has plans for 3,236 satellites and intends to begin service as soon as 578 are in orbit.
Facebook has plans for thousands of satellites but has not disclosed its plans to the public.
Roscosmos, the Russian Space Agency, has plans for 640 satellites, to be deployed between 2022 and 2026.
Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., a Chinese state-owned company, has plans for 156 satellites, to be in place by 2022.
The above companies will broadcast only 5G and will sell user devices that will be mounted on homes and vehicles and will function as small cells. Another company, Lynk, has plans for “several thousand” satellites that will communicate directly with cell phones and will broadcast not only 5G, but also 2G, 3G and 4G. Lynk intends to begin service in 2023.
In addition to these satellite plans, Loon, a subsidiary of Google, has a contract to provide Internet to remote areas of the Amazon rainforest in Peru from stratospheric balloons.