‘60% of new phones will be 5G in 2021,’ says CCS, as Apple goes for 5G launch

Marina K CCS Insights.jpg

More than half of all phones bought in China in the past three months work with 5G networks, according to a new survey.

About a third of all mobile data traffic in South Korea is now on 5G networks, as operators continue to develop new applications for 5G and promote upgrades through attractive pricing.

And 60% of all phones sold in western Europe and North America in 2021 are expected to support 5G, growing to 85% in 2024, says the report, from CCS Insight.

That will be helped if Apple, as expected, launches a 5G-enabled iPhone later today.

“Ironically, the weak overall demand for smartphones worldwide has been one of the triggers for 5G’s success,” observed Marina Koytcheva (pictured), vice president of forecasting at CCS Insight.

Global sales of mobile phones in 2020 are expected to be 1.54 billion units, 15% lower than in 2019 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Koytcheva said: “This has sparked intense competition among manufacturers to get their 5G-enabled phones into the hands of consumers. Prices of phones featuring the latest 5G technology have slid rapidly, with devices from prominent brands already reaching £299 or €349 in Europe. We expect prices to drop further before the end of the year.”

All these factors have fuelled momentum in China, said the survey, with projections for more than 170 million phones to be connected to 5G networks by the end of 2020.

South Korea remains the leading market for 5G adoption based on the proportion of connections, reaching 12% in August 2020.

In contrast, major markets in western Europe and North America have been held back by the lack of 5G-enabled iPhones, despite the fact that mobile operators have managed to continue network rollouts during the pandemic.

The debut this week of new 5G-ready iPhone models will deliver a major boost to adoption of the technology in markets where Apple traditionally commands a significant market share.