Tuesday, 02 July 2019 05:14

Analyst firm forecasts 1.9b 5G-enabled smartphones to ship over five years

Analyst firm forecasts 1.9b 5G-enabled smartphones to ship over five years Pixabay

About 800 million 5G-enabled smartphones are forecast to be shipped in 2023 by the technology analyst firm Canalys, accounting for 51.4% of all smartphone shipments by that time. Overall, in the five-year period, Canalys said it expected the compound annual growth rate to be 179.9%, with a total of 1.9 billion devices shipped to market by the end of 2023.

The company said Greater China — a term that covers mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and Taiwan — would account for 34.0% of the 5G smartphone shipments in 2023, followed by North America (18.8%) and the Asia Pacific region at 17.4%.

Government initiatives to drive 5G development are seen as a factor accounting for the faster rollout in some markets. "There was a phenomenal amount of 5G discussion at this year’s MWC Shanghai, with Chinese 5G licences granted a year earlier than planned," said Nicole Peng, vice-president of Mobility at Canalys.

"The role of the Chinese Government and the well-orchestrated joint investments of operators and equipment suppliers were critical to this earlier commercial launch."

Canalys predicted that in 2020, 17.5% of smartphones shipped in China would be 5G-capable, and this percentage would rise sharply to 62.7% in 2023.

canalys 5g phones

“5G smartphones will see rapid adoption in China, thanks to a strong government technology roadmap and operators’ financial capabilities," Peng said.

"China is also home to many major 5G equipment suppliers and smartphone vendors, which will be responsible for an aggressive marketing push over the next few years.

“But mass-market adoption of 5G smartphones does not necessarily mean a successful 5G deployment. Full 5G deployment will take much longer, and be much more complex than the previous network generation, in order to realise the benefits of 5G beyond eMBB (enhanced Mobile Broadband).

"And this is very costly, putting more pressure on global operators, which are already facing declining revenue and more price competition from MVNOs.”

Canalys analyst Mo Jia added: “Chinese operators’ investments in 5G will reach US$5 billion this year, and about 70,000 to 90,000 5G base stations will be built across the country.

"Among the three operators, China Mobile will be extending its market advantage, given its vast user base and financial strength. China Mobile has the broadest 5G smartphone portfolio at launch.

"Given the government has just implemented the long-awaited mobile number portability policy, all three operators will be even more aggressive with promotions to target 5G early adopters and high-value customers later this year.

"Unsurprisingly, local Chinese brands, such as Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi and ZTE, are 5G handset launch partners for the three operators, while Samsung will also use this window of opportunity to fight back in China. Yet Apple will miss out, leaving loyal iPhone users waiting another year, which might risk them switching to aggressive competitors."

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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