Number of 5G devices on market rockets 40% in a month, including drones and a robot

08 July 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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The industry has announced a record number of 5G devices in June alone, taking the total to 90 devices available for the new mobile technology.

According to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), which represents equipment and device makers, the total includes 5G drones, laptops and robots among the 26 devices released in June.

This 40% rise in one month is probably attributable to the occurrence last month of the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai, which saw a larger than normal number of new product announcements.

The GSA’s report, out today, reveals that 39 vendors have now released 5G devices of various types and applications – the GSA calls them “form factors”.

GSA president Joe Barrett (pictured) said: “As we see operators commercially launching their first 5G services, so this is being mirrored in the wider 5G ecosystem with a significant acceleration in the rate of new device announcements.”

One of the most common chipsets in the new 5G devices is the Qualcomm Snapdragon, used for everything from consumer premises equipment (CPE) to internet of things (IoT) routers to phones from a large variety of makers, including LG, Motorola, Sierra Wireless, Sony and ZTE.

Huawei, though, is using its Balong 5000 chip for all its announced devices, including phones and CPE. Shaken by the US embargo, the Chinese company is making a deliberate effort to ensure it is reliant on local suppliers. The Balong 5000 is made by HiSilicon, owned by Huawei itself.

The full list of devices includes 25 phones (plus regional variants) and seven hotspots, also with regional variants, as well as 23 CPE devices and 23 modules, plus snap-on dongles/adapters, routers, IoT routers and drones. There is one 5G-enabled laptop, a switch, a USB terminal and a robot.

“Significantly, we’re also seeing range of form factors continue to grow as manufacturers turn to 5G to deliver the connectivity in their new devices,” said Barrett.

“While not all devices are available immediately and specification details remain limited for some devices, what is beyond any doubt is that the 5G vendor ecosystem is racing to fulfil a need in the market for an ever-increasing range of connected devices capable of delivering new services, experiences and economies.”

The GSA’s latest 5G Ecosystem Report is available here (PDF).