Sales of Android and other 5G-enabled smartphones will be minor until at least 2021, according to a number of recent predictions outlined by market research firm Strategy Analytics. While wireless leaders in the United States, South Korea, China, and several other countries are expected to start offering 5G services early next year, such technologies won't provide many consumers with a reason to upgrade their handsets or pay extra for ones that can communicate with the next generation of wireless infrastructure in the near term, as suggested by Strategy Analytics Director Ken Hyers.
The company is predicting 5G smartphones to only account for no more than five-percent of global sales three years from now, with Senior Analyst Ville-Petteri Ukonaho noting that Japan, South Korea, China, and the U.S. will be the first markets to embrace such consumer electronics. 5G-enabled handsets are likely to start gaining momentum starting in 2022 and their sales should be measured in hundreds of millions by 2023, the research firm forecasted. The slow adoption rate of the devices will primarily be prompted by limited 5G coverage and use cases as mobile service providers will initially only be focused on serving the world's largest urban areas. By 2023, the wireless industry should boast 600 million 5G subscriptions on a global scale, all of which will be backed by compatible handsets, with the report attributing the majority of that figure to China.
In the immediate future, 4G LTE will remain the dominant cellular technology that Strategy Analytics expects to be "a mainstay" even beyond 2023. While the company didn't draw direct parallels with previous generations of mobile networks, its prediction for the commercial adoption of 5G handsets largely expects them to perform in a manner that's similar to that of 4G devices which took years until being fully embraced on a global level. Samsung and ZTE are expected to be the world's first vendors to deliver 5G smartphones, with both companies previously suggesting they'll do so by early 2019. The next wireless revolution is expected to change the fundamentals of modern economy by enabling a wide variety of new use cases and businesses, according to numerous predictions from analysts and industry veterans.