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The whimsical buying reflex for 5G smartphones

SSmartphone manufacturers worldwide are entering the market faster than expected with 5G devices. After Samsung presented all of its new Galaxy S20 models two weeks ago as a variant for the next and thus fifth generation of 5G mobile communications, the beginning of the week followed Sony with its Xperia 1 II, which will only be available as a 5G model.

Huawei has already revealed what will be seen in Paris on March 26. The Huawei P40 Pro is said to be “the most powerful 5G smartphone in the world,” said Huawei CEO Richard Yu. The sister brand Honor also presented its first 5G smartphone this week with the View30 Pro. Huawei’s foldable Mate Xs is only available as a 5G version.

According to the 5G chip manufacturer Qualcomm, there are already more than 70 different 5G smartphone models that are either already sold or about to be launched. In addition to Samsung’s Galaxy S20 models, these are also devices from Oppo, Xiaomi, Realme, Vivo, Asus and ZTE.

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Mitsuya Kishida, President Sony Mobile Communications Inc., introducing the new Sony Xperia 1, during the Mobile World Congress, on February 25, 2019 in Barcelona, ​​Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros / NurPhoto) | No distribution to resellers.

“Sales of 5G smartphones are growing faster than was the case with LTE devices at the time,” said Annette Zimmermann, telecommunications expert at Gartner. The market researcher expects that thanks to the new 5G devices, the smartphone market will grow again by three percent this year after shrinking by two percent last year. Manufacturers are expected to sell 221 million 5G smartphones this year and more than twice as many next year.

So far, it was mainly flagship models that came on the market as 5G variants. The prices for this quickly exceeded 1000 euros. Nevertheless, almost 19 million of these devices were sold last year, mainly by the manufacturers Huawei and Samsung sold. But that is changing quickly. Chinese companies in particular, which were previously only on their home market, are now moving into other countries.

They use 5G and falling prices to compete against the top dogs. This week Realme presented its latest model X50 Pro 5G for 550 euros. But here, too, there is still room for improvement.

Mid-range phones also come with 5G

The reason for this are cheaper chips from the manufacturer Qualcomm, which already offers its Snapdragon 600 with 5G. “5G phones have been announced that cost less than $ 300, so sales growth of 5G phones is expected to exceed that of 4G phones over a period of 12 months,” said Gartner expert Zimmermann.

Fast 5G should only be an additional function that is easy to do. Just like there are hardly any TVs to buy without an internet connection. “We assume that all smartphones that come onto the market this year in the high-end market, but also in the middle price segment, will be 5G-capable,” said Ni Zhang, head of Germany at the Chinese manufacturer Oppo WORLD.

The group has only recently been represented in Germany with its own smartphones. The next models will be presented on March 6th. As Qualcomm previously revealed, Oppo’s Find X2 will come as a 5G device.

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It’s surprising that manufacturers are now pushing their 5G models onto the market with such force. In many places, users will not notice the new mobile radio standard at all because it is not yet available. There is still no network for this in Germany.

Telefónica has not yet switched on a 5G antenna. Vodafone and the Deutsche Telekom spark is already in the new standard, but only at a few hotspots. Telekom boss Tim Höttges proudly announced during the latest balance sheet that the Telekom had 450 antennas with 5G live, at the end of the year there should be around 1500. For comparison: Telekom’s mobile network in Germany consists of 27,000 antennas. Vodafone is currently broadcasting 300 5G antennas.

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An employee pushes trolleys past an OPPO Co. smartphone advertisement at Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport in in Shenzhen, China, on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. Shenzhen is young, hopeful and looks optimistically toward a future where it can help drive China ? s push to dominate the next century through an innovative economy that sidesteps political freedoms. The city also has the centralized control, relentless efficiency and advanced manufacturing that lies at the root of President Xi Jinping? S concept of China? S future greatness. Photographer: Qilai Shen / Bloomberg

Why do consumers buy 5G smartphones when they don’t have a network yet? There are mutliple reasons for this. For one thing, they have no choice if they want a top smartphone.

Samsung sells its most powerful Galaxy S20 Ultra model in Germany exclusively as a 5G model. On the other hand, buyers may be thinking a few years into the future. Anyone who spends 1000 euros on a device wants to make sure that it can still spark in the best network in three years.

It is quite possible that the expansion of 5G networks will accelerate further

Only hardly a smartphone user keeps his device for so long. The digital association Bitkom has in his latest study found that every second user bought a new model after just one year. Less than 20 percent remain loyal to their smartphone for more than two years.

It is quite possible that the expansion of 5G networks will accelerate further. “The switch from 4G to 5G will be four times faster than in the previous generation,” said Rajeev Suri, chief of the network supplier Nokia,

The consulting firm Strand Consult also sees a faster expansion than ever before. Qualcomm anticipates that there will be more than a billion 5G connections worldwide by 2023. It took 4G longer for that to take 4G.

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Rebecca Hirst, head of UK product marketing of Samsung Electronics, unveils the Z Flip foldable smartphone during Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2020 in San Francisco, California, U.S. February 11, 2020. REUTERS / Stephen Lam

But manufacturers may promise consumers more than they can keep. Experts see the advantage of 5G above all in industry in the networking of production and in applications such as autonomous driving and the Internet of Things.

But smartphones? Forrester market researcher Thomas Husson says: “The latest telecommunications standard does not yet bring meaningful advantages to consumers in everyday life.”

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