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5G phone adoption 'resilient and consistent'

With 5G-enabled smartphones becoming more widely available and dropping in price, growing numbers of mobile users are making the switch.

In fact, new research shows that the latest generation of mobile technology is being adopted faster than its predecessor, 4G.

In this year’s first quarter, shipments of 5G devices reached 39% of the global total and accounted for more than two-thirds (69%) of global smartphone revenue, according to research firm Counterpoint’s Quarterly Market Monitor service.

5G Network

It comes after a recent report from technology analyst firm CCS Insight predicted that connections to 5G networks worldwide will triple this year to 670 million and remain on track to reach 3.6 billion in 2025.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic disrupting the manufacture and sales of new devices, there has been a “resilient and consistent rise in 5G smartphone penetration” in every region, Counterpoint said.

The 5G smartphone market was boosted by the launch of Apple’s 5G-capable iPhone 12 series in the fourth quarter of 2020, and the momentum continued in the first quarter of 2021 with 5G smartphone shipments growing by 7% from the previous three months despite total shipments falling 10%.

Apple recorded the highest 5G smartphone revenue and shipment share in January-March 2021, followed by Samsung and Huawei (excluding HONOR).

In terms of regions, China is still the largest 5G market by revenue and volume, powered by low- to mid-tier offerings, Counterpoint found.

Globally, however, the adoption of 5G has so far been driven by the flagship segment.

“The next part in the 5G adoption story will be convincing the rest of the smartphone user base, which is either price-conscious or utility-driven or both, to shift to 5G,” Counterpoint said. “This will depend on OEMs bringing in budget 5G smartphones, governments implementing conducive policies, and a growing basket of 5G use cases to convince users, especially in emerging markets.”

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