Qualcomm predicts 5G smartphone explosion in 2021

Qualcomm has told analysts that it expects to see 175 to 225 million 5G smartphone sales next year, with more than 450 million in 2021 and another 750 million in 2022.

Qualcomm also said it expects adoption rates of the new network technology to be faster than 4G due to commercialisation in China and chipsets that will available for multiple tiers of device.

Rumours suggest that Samsung will include 5G in its Galaxy S11 device, the launch of which is anticipated in the first quarter of 2020, followed by Apple which will be using the network technology in its next iPhone, expected around September. The large unit sales projected for both these devices could see widespread adoption of 5G, with significant iPhone sales expected to spill into the following year, too.

Analysts attach importance to smartphone estimate figures from Qualcomm, given its close relationship with phone makers.

Mobile network Verizon said it expects revenue from 5G growth opportunities to increase next year and anticipates launching 5G in more than 30 cities by the end of this year.

Next-generation 5G smartphones are expected to make tasks like watching videos or playing games on mobile networks as good as or better than on a Wi-Fi connection.

Qualcomm stands to benefit from faster 5G adoption because smartphone makers will be eager to get their hands on the firm’s new chipsets that support 5G.

The UK’s major networks have been launching their 5G networks this year, with EE first off the bat in May, followed by Vodafone in July, then 3 a month later and finally O2 last month.

With EE’s pioneering 5G network still barely six months old, coverage across the UK is mostly confined to densely populated areas.

Speed-testing firm Ookla said that 5G has been deployed in 29 cities in the UK to date, including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester and Wolverhampton.

It tested the speed of each of the major network’s 5G implementations, with a significant gap seen between the fastest (EE) and the slowest (Vodafone).

The results, which were a mean average based on tests across the UK, showed that typical download speeds for EE’s network were around 205Mbps versus 160Mbps for O2 and just 140Mbps for Vodafone. The company declined to test the 3 network as its 5G is only available for broadband connections in certain London districts.

However, Vodafone did have the lowest latency network of around 21 milliseconds, versus 25 for EE and 26 for O2.

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