5G mobile subscriptions are increasing worldwide with more countries adopting the network in the hope of advancing connectivity and economic growth. According to a Statista report, the number of subscriptions is expected to exceed 2.7 billion by 2025, with North East Asia, North America, and Western Europe projected to have the highest number users.
An Ericsson report stated that, “The rise of 5G users, accounts for about 30 percent of total mobile subscriptions, and is expected to be higher than it was for 4G.”
After South Korea commercialized the services for the first time in April of last year, the number of 5G mobile subscriptions exceeded 8 million as of late August, a milestone achieved in 16 months.
While the rise of subscriptions is due to the release of Samsung Electronics’ latest flagship Galaxy Note 20 backed with 5G connection, the number of 5G service users stood at 8,658,222 in late August – up 10.2 percent from the previous month, according to data released by the Ministry of Science and ICT. “It is the fastest monthly gain since August last year.”
Mobile carriers and the 5G race
In addition, the country’s three mobile carriers – SK Telecom, LG Uplus and KT – are expected to reach their target of 10 million 5G users within this year in parallel with the launch of many new 5G smartphones anticipated to hit the market by the end of the year.
Leading the way, SK Telecom registered the highest number of 5G mobile subscriptions reaching up to four million in late August, followed by operators KT and LG Uplus with around two million.
The big three telcos have been rigorously competing to deploy 5G in order to provide enhanced connectivity and new functionalities and services.
5G network challenges
Meanwhile, some countries are still moving slowly towards the 5G reality.
GSMA’s report states that “Adults in markets including the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy have high awareness of the tech but low intent to pay for 5G, with less than 35% saying they want to upgrade. The US market also has a similarly high level of awareness of 5G and only a slightly higher intention to upgrade.”
For example, Italy’s 5G project was supposed to be well ahead of its time, especially after it was launched in October 2018, raising over 6.55 billion euros ($7.3 billion) in auctions. However, operators say the project has fallen victim to high costs, conspiracy theories and Italy’s famously complex bureaucracy.
Andrea Rangone, a Professor at the Polytechnic Business School in Milan said that “The culture of mobile telecommunications in Italy has always been ahead of its time, but Investing in Italy is very difficult, there is no certainty about time frames because of bureaucracy.”
100GB of 5G data for under EUR 10, part of new plan by Iliad Italia
Iliad Italia has launched a new plan dubbed ‘Flash 100 5G’ with 100GB of data at maximum possible speeds of up to 5G plus unlimited calls and SMS for EUR 9.99 a month.
The plan by the telco improves its inaugural 5G offer of 70GB of data for the same price launched at the end of last year, which was initially available for one month before being renamed ‘Giga 70’.
Some of the benefits mentioned in the plan include unlimited minutes of voice calls and SMS, as well as valid for roaming in Europe. Customers used to benefit from those features in the past plans.
When the user is in a European country, he also has an extra 6GB for data traffic outside Italy. Added to this are unlimited calls to mobile and landline phones in over 60 countries around the world.
In March 2017, Italy launched a 5G trial to implement infrastructures and services in 5 cities: the metropolitan area of Milan, Prato, L’Aquila, Bari and Matera. In September 2017, authorisation was granted for the use of 100 Mhz in the 3.6-3.8 Ghz band for the roll-out of 5G in 5 Italian cities.
Iliad 5g coverage
Iliad 5G is arriving in the first cities, by working to increase the 5G network coverage, already available in some areas of the following cities: Alessandria, Bari, Bologna, Brescia, Cagliari, Como, Ferrara, Florence, Genoa, amongst others.
The new plan also include the operator including all 5G smartphones among the devices compatible with the 5G iliad network, having the below devices already available:
Huawei: P40, P40 Pro, P40 Pro +
Oppo: Reno4 5G, Reno4 Pro 5G, Find X2 Lite, Find X2 Neo, Find X2 Pro
Xiaomi: MI 10T Lite 5G, Mi 10, Mi 10T, Mi 10T Pro, Mi 10 Pro
Motorola: Edge, Moto G 5G Plus, Moto Razr 5G
Nokia: Nokia 8.3 5Ge
Iliad Italia gained 580,000 net new customers in Q3 2020, reaching 6.8 million mobile subscribers at end-September 2020, and said it now has an almost 9% share of the Italian mobile market.
In Italy, Iliad said it recorded “a very high number” of net additions despite ongoing targeted and aggressively priced offerings launched by competitors and the market’s lower churn rate since late February, when the government introduced initial restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Sim card for Italy and abroad
While any traveler can get an Italy sim card on his arrival to the country without a problem, there is also the option of buying one online before the trip.
For example, the Alertify European SIM card offers services that can easily work in Italy.
Alertify travel sim card international provides inexpensive, fast and secure mobile internet service globally and enables customer travel around the world and stay connected with one SIM only.
5G smartphones top choice of buyers in India: Oppo survey
Smartphones enabled with 5G features are becoming the top choice of buyers in India much ahead of fifth-generation’s rollout, a recent survey by leading smartphone brand Oppo revealed.
According to Oppo, 5G smartphones are gaining traction in tier-II and tier-III cities and towns like Halol, Raiganj, Chikhli, Ongole, Rajula.
Although all efforts were focused on deploying fifth-generation technology in India by mid-2021 and preparing for it following several trials, the parliamentary panel on information technology considers that the country is not well prepared for 5G rollout.
“This growth in demand for 5G enabled devices as it will be the key consideration to feed the rise of consumption of content among users is an indication of digital readiness of Indian users,” Oppo said.
In parallel, the findings by Oppo additionally burdened on digital camera and videography options that are probably the most utilized by the shoppers.
69.6 percent of the respondents talked about using videography very regularly, whereas 81.6 percent of respondents selected AI Videography for enhanced smartphone expertise, adapted by battery, efficiency, show, and processor.
While it is planned for 5G to be rolled out in metropolitan cities followed by other areas similar to the launch of 4G, the parliamentary report identified a range of issues holding up the rollout of the service such as spectrum issues, including uncertainty around the sale of 5G spectrum bands, amongst others.
“The Committee finds that inadequate availability of spectrum, high spectrum prices, poor development of use cases, low status of fiberization, non-uniform RoW [right of way] issues, deficient backhaul capacity, etc. are some of the factors coming in the way of rolling out of 5G services in India,” the panel headed by MP Shashi Tharoor said.
Huawei leads 5G-ready smartphones market as world prepares for mass adoption
5G is the next significant evolution in the mobile landscape, promising to deliver better and faster connectivity. The technology will also empower innovate variety of existing and new apps, including cloud gaming on the go.
Newzoo’s Global Mobile Market Report shows that there will be over 700 million 5G-ready smartphones active in the market this year (a market share of 16 percent), up from 206 million in 2020.
Despite pandemic-related setbacks in terms of 5G infrastructure and rollout, especially in emerging markets and in the West, manufacturers released an array of 5G-ready handsets last year. And consumers were eager to buy these models, completely shaking up our ranking of the top companies by 5G-ready devices.
Who is leading the 5G-ready pack? In this article, Newzoo will be looking at 5G-ready smartphones actively used in the market—in terms of general usage, not 5G usage.
Huawei overtakes Samsung as #1 manufacturer of 5g-ready smartphones
Huawei had an incredible 2020 in terms of its 5G-ready-smartphone sales. Owing to the success of devices such as the P40 series, the company became the 5G-ready market leader at the end of 2020. Huawei’s share of active 5G-ready devices skyrocketed from 8.6 percent in November to 27 percent in December:5G-ready smartphones.
Huawei’s home market, China, remains the leader in 5G device adoption; therefore, it’s no surprise that the company is also leading the market for 5G-ready smartphones.
But Huawei’s future position remains uncertain, owing to the U.S sanctions and the fact that it sold the Honor brand (reportedly based on sanctions situation). Soon after this sale, Honor began working with Qualcomm and MediaTek on 5G chips. Nevertheless, Huawei’s impressive market share as of December 2020 is undeniable.
Samsung falls to #2, but enjoys superior presence
Samsung was among the first major brands to push 5G in its flagship devices, with 2019’s Galaxy S10 series already offering 5G-readiness. This helped Samsung secure an early foothold in the 5G-ready-smartphone market, especially in its home market of South Korea. Newzoo’s Monthly Active Mobile Device Data shows that in December 2020:
- South Korea accounted for 21.8 percent of Samsung’s active 5G-ready smartphones.
- The U.S. accounted for 9.1 percent.
- And Russia accounted for 5.6 percent.
Samsung has since expanded 5G functionality to its non-flagship handsets, including devices in its Galaxy A series. As of December 2020, over 21.6 million active Galaxy A21 5G handsets were active worldwide, as shown in Monthly Active Mobile Device Data.
While newer entrants have taken much of the Korean tech giant’s share, Samsung still boasted a 5G-ready market share of 25.1 percent in December 2020. But its biggest competitor, the other half of the overall-smartphone-market duopoly, might be catching up.
Success of iPhone 12 in China Brought Apple into the Top 3 for 5G
In mid-October, Apple announced the iPhone 12 series, the first iPhones to support 5G connection thanks to their mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G compatibility.
Newzoo expected Apple’s foray into smartphones to significantly bolster the uptake of 5G-ready devices, and that’s exactly what happened. After just one flagship release, Apple is now the world’s #3 smartphone brand by 5G-ready devices, boasting a market share just shy of 20 percent in December 2020:
Apple also enjoyed its best-ever quarter by revenues in its fiscal Q1 2021. In a conference call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that China had a record number of iPhone upgraders during the quarter. Total revenues from Greater China hit $21.3 billion, up +57 percent from last year.
The iPhone 12’s 5G capability was—and continues to be—one of the major drivers for Chinese consumers upgrading their handsets; after all, the country quickly and effectively rolled out its 5G network infrastructure. This certainly bolstered Apple’s strong 5G-ready performance and is reflected in Active Mobile Device Data for December 2020:
– 29.5 percent of Apple’s active 5G-ready smartphones were in China
– 24.7 percent were in the U.S.
– And 8.7 percent were in Japan.
Newzoo expects that the iPhone 12 series drive will further 5G-ready adoption in Apple’s key markets (including China, Japan, and the U.S.) this year and beyond.
We also expect to see Chinese brands continuing to perform well in the 5G-ready-smartphone space, including Xiaomi and OPPO, who also saw market-share jumps in December 2020.
One thing is for sure: when infrastructure catches up and the pandemic subsides, consumers across the globe will be ready to take advantage of the next generation in mobile internet technology. But how can companies stay up to date with active (5G-ready) smartphones?
Newzoo clients who subscribe to Monthly Active Mobile Device Data include some of the world’s biggest tech giants—as well as leading app publishers that have underlined growth countries as a strategic priority. Others, closer to the telecom sector, ingest the data into their business intelligence (BI) platform, combining it with their shipping or sales data.
This article has been written by Amsterdam-based gaming market insights firm Newzoo.
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