Global 5G smartphone shipments predicted to reach only 5 million units in 2019

While the short-term outlook is weak, the long-term opportunity remains analysts say.

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Market research company Strategy Analytics projected Wednesday that global 5G smartphone shipments will reach a modest 5 million units in 2019 due to high pricing, component bottlenecks, and restricted availability of active 5G networks.

“Samsung will be the early 5G smartphone leader in the first half of 2019, due to initial launches across South Korea and the United States”, Ville Petteri-Ukonaho, a senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, said.

The analyst added that “LG, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola and others will follow later in the year, followed by Apple’s iPhone with its first 5G model during the second half of 2020. The iPhone looks set to be at least a year behind Samsung in the 5G smartphone race and Apple must be careful not to fall too far behind.”

On top of the weak short-term outlook for 5G smartphones, multiple media outlets reported Wednesdays that some of Samsung’s new Galaxy Fold folding phones, which are 5G-enabled, broke when journalists tried them hands-on.

However, Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, is optimistic about the long-term opportunity.

“We forecast 1 billion 5G smartphones to ship worldwide per year by 2025. The introduction of 5G networks, by carriers like Verizon or China Mobile, opens up high-speed, ultra-low-latency services such as 8K video, streaming games, and augmented reality for business,” said Mawston.

“The next big question for the mobile industry is how much extra consumers are really willing to pay, if anything, for those emerging 5G smartphones and services,” he added.

Contact the writer at [email protected]

Editor: Nadine Freischlad