5G Smartphones will not Play a Role in 2019

The IDC is presenting new numbers that will focus on the proliferation of 5G smartphones over the next few years. Accordingly, this technology will only play a negligible role in 2019.


We talk a lot about foldable smartphones and 5G handsets. The Mobile World Congress has shown that manufacturers are almost exhausted that, after years of monotony and somewhat frugal hardware iterations, they have finally come up with themes that demonstrate their ability to innovate.

That may not be true in detail, but at least you can sell it in marketing terms. For example, if Samsung announces its Galaxy S10 5G, then the company does not want to sell 5G smartphones massively, but rather a fragrance brand in the sense of “Look, we have the newest Technology already at the start.”

Frankly, this is not reprehensible that the companies position themselves and throw their hats ever prophylactically in the ring. But for us consumers, it is not very exciting and not particularly effective. Nevertheless, there are already plenty of concretely announced 5G smartphones for the next few months and even more declarations of intent for devices that will also appear this year.

The International Data Corporation (IDC) is currently presenting numbers that deal with the delivered smartphones this year. However, there are not only forecasts for 2019, but also a look at the year 2023. Among other things, this report is about the fact that smartphones continue to falter on a global scale. The IDC expects to ship just under 1.4 billion handsets this year, which would be minuscule (-0.8 percent) less than last year.


The reasons for this development are the problematic market in China, where sales are in sharp decline; the equally difficult trade ties between the US and China and the cycles in which new smartphones are purchased – the users have their devices last longer than a few years ago.

At the same time, however, the report also mentions that there is hope for the industry to boost the numbers again in the future. 5G is undoubtedly at the top of the list, although we are still not convinced that 5G technology will cause an impact on smartphones. Almost every market imaginable and every industry in which 5G will be used is more exciting than the use of technology in smartphones.

IDC also provides forecasts of how the 5G story is developing in this market. Anyone who has thought that through the many announced 5G devices, this technology is already in 2019 through the ceiling, will be disappointed by the figures of the IDC. Even in 2020 and 2021, little will happen.

For 2023, the IDC sees but then a significant proportion of 5G devices on the global smartphone market. About 26 percent of the world’s smartphones sold in 2023 will rely on this technology. It means every fourth smartphone sold in 2023 comes with 5G.

To put it another way, we are four years from the point that sales of 5G smartphones have a significant impact on the market. So, when we say that Apple is still a good reason with a 5G iPhone retains, we may feel vindicated by these numbers.

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