5G smartphones to dominate next decade, claims new report

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5G smartphone shipments will hit 1.5 billion units by 2025, up from an estimated two million in 2019, a new report from Strategy Analytics has forecast.

Researchers said sales of 5G handsets will be the fastest growing sector of the smartphone market for the next decade, but warned of teething problems.

The report predicted Qualcomm, Intel, InterDigital, Ericsson, Apple, Samsung, Vodafone and China Mobile would be "at the forefront of the upcoming 5G smartphone wave".

Boris Metodiev, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics, said: “We predict the first 5G smartphones to launch commercially in advanced mobile countries such as Japan, South Korea and United States by 2019.

"However, we caution that 5G technology standards today are not yet market-ready, while previous launches of 3G and 4G smartphones in the past often arrived much later than promised.

"The smartphone industry is understandably very excited about 5G right now, but history suggests early 5G products may well suffer technical or financial teething problems, and the industry should be prepared for future possible delays in initial smartphone or network launches of several months, perhaps up to a year.”

The prediction contrasts sharply with CCS Insight, which said last month there would be 310 million sales of 5G smartphones in 2021.

Strategy Analytics' report comes hot on the heels of Ericsson's prediction there will be one billion 5G connections by 2023, although this covers a wider range of devices than just smartphones.

However, the Swedish vendor warned that telcos needed to be aware of the demands of today's millennials whose smartphone habits differ to adults. Only half of them said their current network performance was up to scratch.

Ericsson also estimated Europeans will consume 28GB of data per month by 2023.