You probably don’t have a 5G smartphone yet, but in the next few years that will likely change.
If market research firm Canalys’ latest forecast is correct, 5G-enabled smartphones will overtake 4G handsets, which currently dominate the global market, in 2023. Canalys expects vendors to ship almost 800 million 5G handsets that year and 1.9 billion of them over the next five years.
“Greater China will account for 34 percent of 5G smartphone shipments in 2023, followed by North America at 18.8 percent, and Asia Pacific at 17.4 percent,” Canalys wrote in a Monday press release.
Currently, 5G handsets account for just 0.9 percent of global smartphone shipments, Canalys said. By 2023, they are expected to account for 51.4 percent.
In the US, only a handful of 5G smartphones are currently available, including the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, LG V50, and the Moto Z3 and Z4 with their 5G mods. iPhone users will most likely have to wait until late 2020 for a 5G-enabled model.
5G coverage is also very limited. Verizon has 5G in small parts of Chicago and Minneapolis; AT&T claims to have it in parts of 19 cities; and Sprint has it in four cities. PCMag’s Lead Mobile Analyst Sascha Segan says broad adoption probably won’t start until 2021. Canalys Vice President of Mobility Nicole Peng also says it could take a while before 5G service becomes widely available.
“Mass-market adoption of 5G smartphones does not necessarily mean a successful 5G deployment,” Peng said in a statement. “Full 5G deployment will take much longer, and be much more complex than the previous network generation.”